4-Hers compete in the 4-H Food Showdown and Favorite Food Contest

Staff Writer
The Shawnee News-Star

Health is one of the four H's that comprise the 4-H clover emblem along with the Head, Heart and Hands. 4-H youth in Pottawatomie County had the opportunity to showcase their cooking skills through the Food Showdown and My Favorite Food contest on Saturday February 22n, at Rock Creek Baptist Church.

Cloverbuds (youth ages 5-8 years) and Junior participants (youth ages 9-11 years) had the opportunity to share their favorite food and a themed table setting to set up and present to the judges and participants. These age groups do not cook at the actual contest site. This year there were nine contestants. Channing Goodson made Cake Pops for a unicorn themed birthday party and won 1st place, followed by Jacee Townsend's BBQ Sliders in 2nd, and Aubrianna Smith's Strawberry Surprise brownies in 3rd. All three award winners are a part of the South Rock Creek Food & Nutrition project group in South Rock Creek 4-H club.

Youth who are considered Intermediate competitors (ages 12-13 years) competed as teams in the 4-H Food Showdown Contest.  This contest is modeled after the popular Food Network shows Iron Chef and Chopped.  Intermediate teams do not use a heat source when preparing their food. The Food Showdown participants were given a bag of secret ingredients which must be used in their dish, as well as a common pantry. The secret ingredients this year were cauliflower, dill weed, and lemon. The four teams created a variety of different dishes to present to the judges. The South Rock Creek 4-H "Food Fanatics" team took 1st place with their chicken and mixed green salad, followed by the South Rock Creek 4-H "Rocket Chefs", Home Ag 4-H, and the Bethel 4-H "Bethel Baking Babes".

Both the Food Showdown and My Favorite Food contest helps youth learn more about cooking and food preparation in a fun and competitive way.  It gets them excited about preparing meals and being creative in the kitchen while still using safe food practices and nutrition information. The contest utilizes teamwork and communication skills to perform and complete the tasks.  It allows an opportunity for public speaking as the teams present and explain their creations to the judges. The Food Showdown contest is sponsored by the Pottawatomie County OHCE and grant funds from Wal-Mart Youth Choice Youth Voice.

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