Friday, November 26, 2021

Cooking up greatness

The Cookin’ Cowgirls, Shea Hook, Kaylie Smith and Lydia Smith, prepare their dish for the Denton County 4-H Food Challenge.
The Cookin’ Cowgirls, Shea Hook, Kaylie Smith and Lydia Smith, prepare their dish for the Denton County 4-H Food Challenge.

This year’s Denton County 4-H Food Challenge contest was held on December 5th with 15 teams and more than 60 youth participating.

The Food Challenge contest consists of teams of three to five youth who are given a list of supplies to bring to the contest.  Each team arrives with their box of kitchen gadgets and is then presented with a mystery bag of ingredients, similar to the Food Network’s show ‘Chopped.’

Within a 40 minute time limit, teams must create a dish using all of the ingredients in the bag and prepare a short presentation to include the name of their dish, the ingredients, the process they used, the nutrient content, any food safety concerns, any possible substitutions and the cost per serving of the dish.  Ingredient bags are based on “real” recipes, but may include an ingredient which youth aren’t too familiar.

The two Clover Teams (younger than 8 years of age) were given mystery ingredients to make a dessert using angel food cake and fresh fruit. Junior 4-H teams (8-10 years old) were given a bag with apples, celery, walnuts, raisins, pudding and yogurt, while our intermediate teams (11-13 years old) made a version of a pumpkin pancake.  The mixed age teams were given a mystery bag containing jicama, and the seniors (14-18 years old) had a bag containing bok choy, two ingredients which many youth had little knowledge.

Teams were judged by a panel on both their preparation and presentation.  Thirteen of the 15 teams are eligible to compete at the district 4-H contest at Texas A&M University – Commerce this April.

The Texas 4-H Food Show contest is similar to the Food Challenge, but youth participate individually and prepare a dish before arriving to the contest.  Many youth who participate in this contest spend many months preparing and perfecting their recipe for competition.  Youth are then judged based on their knowledge of the nutrients in the dish and how the ingredients work together.

The Denton County 4-H Food Show was held at the Joseph A. Carroll building on Saturday, December 12th, with 18 participants.  All recipes focused around the theme of “Picnic Perfect” and results were as follows:

Hannah Luebbert – Junior Fruit and Vegetables – Quinoa Kale Salad – 1st Place

Cole Slater – Junior Dairy – Greek Pimento Cheese Spread – 1st Place

Lila Griffith – Junior Protein – Picnic Chicken Lettuce Wraps – 1st Place

Stockton James – Junior Protein – Chicken Fried Deer Sandwich – 2nd Place

Cacie Whitney – Intermediate Grain – Cinnamon Bundt Cake – 1st Place

Matthew Luebbert – Intermediate Fruits and Vegetables – Citrus Cranberry Sauce – 1st Place

Samantha Mayer – Intermediate Fruits and Vegetables – Backyard ‘Tato Salad – 2nd Place

Jacob Mayfield – Intermediate Protein – Homemade Peanut Butter Hummus and Chicken Wraps – 1st Place

Caroline Rogers – Intermediate Protein – Great Grandma Cencula’s Polish Nut Roll – 2nd Place

Tyler Schwein – Intermediate Protein – Perfect Egg Salad – 3rd Place

Jacob Bradshaw – Intermediate Protein – Crescent Roll Carrot Chicken Salad – 4th Place

Macy Archer – Senior Grains – Carrot, Raisin and Pecan Bread – 1st Place

Hannah Bradshaw – Senior Fruits and Vegetables – Apple Roses – 1st Place

Samantha Mooty – Senior Fruits and Vegetables – Southwestern Egg Rolls and Avocado Ranch – 2nd Place

Jared Mayfield – Senior Fruits and Vegetables – Black Bean Salad – 3rd Place

Lauren Hicks – Senior Fruits and Vegetables – Strawberry Spinach Salad – 4th Place

Trinity Hook – Senior Fruits and Vegetables – Fresh Veggie Salad – 5th Place

All first place Food Show winners are eligible to compete at the District 4-H contest at Texas A&M University – Commerce this April.

For more information about the Denton County 4-H program or to learn more about the 4-H contest areas, please contact Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service of Denton County at 940-349-2884 or visit our website at


Courtney Davis is the new Denton County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences.  She can be reached at 940-349-2882 or [email protected].

CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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