Competitors in the Jr Iron Chef VT

Competitors in the Jr Iron Chef VT

ESSEX JCT. — Registration is now open for the 13th annual Jr Iron Chef VT, a culinary competition for Vermont middle and high school students who are looking to show off their skills in the kitchen. Jr Iron Chef VT challenges teams of students to create healthy and delicious dishes, made from local ingredients, to inspire school meal programs.

“Jr Iron Chef VT is more than an enrichment activity,” says co-coordinator Kerrie Mathes. “It’s also a workforce development opportunity for young Vermonters. It offers kids time with their local chefs, farmers, teachers, and school nutrition staff. It opens students’ eyes to career paths within the food system. Some participants go on to choose culinary careers. Participating students truly are food system changemakers.”

From the start, the event has been committed to providing middle and high school students with a hands-on experience cooking nutritious, whole and local foods. When the event began in 2008, 35 teams participated. Last year, 264 students from every corner of the state competed on 62 teams, with 58 Vermont farms and producers represented. Since 2008, over 4,500 Vermont teens have chosen to learn healthy cooking and leadership skills while helping their school, family, and community become healthier places.

Registration opens on Friday November 15th and will be accepted until January 17, 2020 on a first come, first serve basis. The early bird registration fee is $130 until December 13, 2019. After that, the registration fee increases to $150. Registration is limited to the first 70 teams, with each team consisting of three to five students in 6th-8th grade, or 9th-12th grade. Register your team and find more information online at www.jrironchefvt.org.

The Jr Iron Chef VT 2020 competition will be held on March 14, 2020 at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. The contest guidelines are rigorous, intended to demonstrate the real-life challenges that food services face in creating healthy meals for schools. Two heats will be held the day of the competition, with 90 minutes of cooking time per heat. Winning teams receive prize packages, and have an opportunity to feature their recipes in the Vermont Statehouse Cafeteria in April.

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