Montgomery County Junior Chef team wins at State Fair

kentucky state fair

LOUISVILLE, Ky (WTVQ) – Montgomery County prevailed over Boyle County by a knife’s edge in the fourth annual Farm to School Junior Chef championship cook off Friday at the Kentucky State Fair.

“Congratulations to Montgomery County for an outstanding job throughout the competition,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “This year’s tournament was perhaps the most competitive we’ve ever had, and that reflects the growing enthusiasm for this program throughout the Commonwealth. We appreciate all the coaches who took some of their valuable time to work with their student teams, and we’re especially grateful to our partners at Sullivan University for increasing their commitment to this program.”

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The Montgomery County team of Hayden Holley, Joy Pidgorodetska, MacKenzie Green, and Gabby Hovatter prepared Farmer’s Choice Dirty Rice to win over a panel of three judges from Sullivan University. The Boyle County team – Sidney Darnell, Samantha Stewart, Mady Thomas, and Chandler Lane – prepared Barbeque Pork Tacos with Apple Poppy Seed Coleslaw to reach the final match.

Each Montgomery County member won the opportunity for an $8,000 scholarship from Sullivan University plus cook books and a $150 cash prize from John Wiley & Sons. John Wiley will provide its text books free of charge to any Montgomery County member who enrolls at Sullivan. Montgomery County will demonstrate its dish at the first Farm to School Southeast Region meeting in September in Greenville, S.C.

Each Boyle County member won the opportunity for a $5,000 scholarship from Sullivan. Members of Pikeville Independent and Henderson County, the other semi-finalists, each won the opportunity for a $3,000 scholarship from Sullivan plus cook books.

Hayden Holley was named Top Chef of the tournament and won an additional $2,000 scholarship offer from Sullivan and a cash award from John Wiley.

Junior Chef encourages high school students to learn how to cook by using local ingredients to prepare healthy meals while teaching students about agriculture, marketing, organization, teamwork, and community involvement.
The Junior Chef season begins with district competition in the spring and continues with regional matches to determine the teams that will advance to the state tournament. Junior Chef teams are made up of three to five students in grades 9-12.

The Junior Chef competition is part of the Kentucky Proud Farm to School Program, which helps Kentucky schools purchase local foods to serve to their students. Children get fresh, nutritious foods to help them grow up healthy and strong. Local farmers get another market for their farm products.

The Farm to School Program and the Junior Chef competition are administered by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

For more information, contact Tina Garland, the KDA’s Farm to School Program Administrator, at (502) 382-7505 or, or visit

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at You can also follow Tom on Facebook and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.