LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Montgomery County 4-H Junior Chef Team prevailed for the third time in the seven-year history of the Kentucky Proud Junior Chef program in the championship cook off against LaRue County on Friday at the Kentucky State Fair.
“Congratulations to Montgomery County and to all the teams across the Commonwealth that participated in the Junior Chef program this year,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “Junior Chef is a wonderful learning experience for students to pick up valuable life skills and possibly even start a career in the culinary arts. This program would not be possible without the support of the parents, teachers, and coaches of the competitors, and Sullivan University, which has stood behind this program from the beginning.”
The Montgomery County team – Cheyenne McCall, Lance Munday, Haley Stinson, and Megan Stinson – prepared a sheet pan chicken quesadilla with Patricia’s green apple salad and honey lime salsa. Montgomery County was coached by Lee Etta Greer. Each member of the team received a $16,000 scholarship offer from Sullivan University.
The LaRue County Junior Chefs – Amy Hammers, Victoria Perry, and Lorelai Sherrard – finished second with their Hawks beefy chips and dip. LaRue County was coached by Shelia Skaggs. Each team member was awarded a $10,000 scholarship offer from Sullivan.
Harlan County and Henderson County were the other semi-finalists. Each member of the Harlan County and Henderson County teams received a $6,000 scholarship offer from Sullivan.
Montgomery County will go on to compete in the third annual Southeast Region Junior Chef Competition in May 2020 at Sullivan University in Louisville. The Southeast Region Junior Chef Competition pits the champions of states in the southeastern U.S. in a cook off for scholarship offers from Sullivan.
Junior Chef encourages participating 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 16 teams that will advance to the state tournament.
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 local foods to help them grow up healthy and strong. Local farmers get another market for their farm products. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) administers the Farm to School Program and the Junior Chef competition.
Other sponsors of the Junior Chef competition besides the KDA and Sullivan University include the Kentucky Department of Education Family and Consumer Science; the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service.
Students who are interested in competing in the eighth season of Junior Chef must form their teams by March 2020. Students are advised to see their school’s food service director or consumer science teacher for more information.
*Note: In the photo that accompanies this story, Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, center, presents the Junior Chef trophy to members of the Montgomery County team: from left, Megan Stinson, Cheyenne McCall, Lance Munday, and Haley Stinson. (Kentucky Department of Agriculture photo)