Agriculture Commissioner James Comer today announced that Sullivan University will partner with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Junior Chef program to contribute $70,000 worth of scholarships to Junior Chef champions who will be crowned in a statewide competition in August.
Before a packed house at the Kentucky School Nutrition Association conference in Lexington, Comer said Sullivan University’s Admissions Team will present a $6,000 scholarship to each member of the winning high school Junior Chef team, a $4,000 scholarship to each member of the second-place team, and a $2,000 scholarship to each member of the two third-place teams.
“I am deeply grateful to Sullivan University for showing such commitment to agriculture education,” Comer said. “This year has already proven to be a huge success and, with partners like Sullivan, I believe this program will end up a national model.”
“Our chefs had the opportunity to interact with high school students taking food grown in Kentucky and turning it into something delicious,” said David Tudor, dean of academic affairs for Louisville-based Sullivan University. “The competitions not only gave students the chance to showcase their creative talents in the kitchen, it gave them a broader appreciation of the source of their food.”
John Wiley & Sons will give $600 to the winning team and will provide books to any student on the winning team who enters a culinary program where John Wiley books are sold.
High school Junior Chef teams from across Kentucky took part in regional competitions this past spring, and the regional winners will compete at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville in August. The students’ dishes were judged based on taste, appearance, creativity, best and most use of local ingredients, and ease and affordability of preparation by school food service staff. Many of the award-winning recipes will be on the lunch menus of the winners’ schools this fall.
The Junior Chef program is part of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Program, which encourages school food service directors to serve local Kentucky Proud foods to their students. Junior Chef encourages high school students to learn how to cook by using local ingredients to prepare healthy meals while at the same time teaching students about agriculture, marketing, organization, teamwork, and community involvement.
For more information on the Kentucky Farm to School Junior Chef Competition, including forms and rules, go to www.kyagr.com/consumer/farm-to-school.html or call Tina Garland, the Department’s Farm to School Program coordinator, at (502) 382-7505.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Program connects local farmers to school districts to make fresh Kentucky Proud foods available to Kentucky children. Thirty-one Kentucky school districts that participate consistently in the Farm to School Program spent some $280,000 on local foods during the 2011-2012 school year. Those school districts serve approximately 325,000 students. A total of 84 school districts are members of the Kentucky Proud program, which helps Kentucky farmers market their products to their local communities.