New Cuisines Turn up Heat in 2013 Cook This! 4-H Culinary Challenge

Cook This!AMES, Iowa – The kitchen is beginning to heat up as the June 30 application deadline draws nearer for the 2013 “Cook This!” 4-H Culinary Challenge. The Cook This competition provides the opportunity for youth in grades 5-12 to demonstrate their culinary skills and knowledge through an ethnic culinary challenge, a communications challenge and two additional challenges.

Kaitlyn Romitti, Cook This event intern said, “The new ethnic cuisines are a great way for youth not only to practice basic culinary skills, but to try new foods, too. Youth will learn how to prepare interesting foods or recipes that may not be familiar and learn new techniques that they never may have tried before.”

The culinary challenge requires youth to present their dish and expand their culinary knowledge as they decide how to make their recipe stand out from the others. Teams will have 1.5 hours to cook and plate their dishes. Themes for the 2013 competition include Creole, Argentinean and French cuisines for juniors, intermediates and seniors, respectively. Juniors will prepare a jambalaya with dirty rice and banana pudding. Intermediates will prepare a sirloin steak with chimichurri sauce, a quinoa side dish and a chocotorta dessert. Seniors will prepare coq au vin, ratatouille and a chocolate mousse for dessert. Teams will be provided with a basic recipe for each of their dishes that they can tailor to their specific cuisine.

The communications challenge requires youth to present on a current food topic. Topics will range from the MyPlate food guide to food production. Junior and intermediate teams will be assigned topics before the competition and then will have 20 minutes the day of the competition to prepare a three- to five-minute presentation. Senior-level participants will be given a list of topics prior to the competition and will draw their topics  the day of the competition. They will have 20 minutes to prepare a three- to five-minute presentation.

The final two challenges for the competition vary for each age group. Juniors will compete in an equipment and produce identification challenge and a vitamins and minerals challenge. Intermediates will compete in a food safety and a culinary knowledge challenge. Senior participants will partake in an herb identification and a food science challenge.

Information for Cook This participants will be posted to social media sites, including Twitter, Wordpress and Facebook. For more information, follow the Cook This Twitter page, @4hCookThis, as well as the Iowa 4-H page, @iowa4h. Challenge information and resources also will be posted to a Wordpress blog at Participants can like the Iowa 4-H page on Facebook and plan to attend the Cook This event via Facebook. Updates and contest information will be posted to each of these sites throughout the summer.

Applications will be accepted until June 30, 2013. Teams will be selected and announced by July 15. Youth may apply in teams, pairs or individually, in which case the member or members will be matched with other youth. At least one member from each team must be a member of 4-H. For more information or to apply, visit