- Author: Sarah Watkins
The 2nd annual 4-H Cooking Throwdown at the California State Fair took place June 22 and 24. Youth ages 9 to 18 had one hour to create a three-course meal with each course containing the designated "secret ingredient." The theme was "Fair Food Done Healthy."
All of the dishes were judged on originality, taste and the USDA's MyPlate standards. Healthy living is a major component of the 4-H Youth Development Program and this contest was introduced to help teach youth to cook and learn portion sizes.
On June 22, three junior teams composed of 9- to 13-year-olds competed. In Round 1, the secret ingredient was a hot dog. The Fat and Furious Team made a mini corn dog, a "speedy" Italian sandwich and a funnel cake with homemade whip cream and candied hot dog. The Blond, Brunette and Ginger Team made hot dog nachos, seafood stir fry and cinnamon chips with fresh creme and strawberries. The fresh cream was infused with hot dog. The food was very original and very tasty. The Fat and Furious won the round.
Round 2 secret ingredient: zucchini
The Cuisine Queens Team made a berry zucchini crepe, chicken salad, and a berry zucchini smoothie.
In the final junior round the secret ingredient was watermelon. Fat and Furious Team made a watermelon mint goat cheese appetizer, a wasabi bread crumb pork chop with a watermelon reduction sauce and fried watermelon for dessert. The Cuisine Queens made a fruit salad, fruit and beef kabobs, and a baked funnel cake for dessert.
The Fat and Furious team were the junior champions.
July 24 was the senior competition of the State Fair 4-H Cooking Throwdown. Six teams competed for the champion title. The youth were between 14 and 18 years old.
The Cookin' Coyotes vs. The Culinary Ninjas
Secret ingredient: berries.
The Culinary Ninjas focused on the health aspect of the competition. They cooked a chorizo caramel apple appetizer, egg roll in a bowl as the main course and a mini churro for dessert. The Cookin' Coyotes made guacamole and chips for the appetizer, fish tacos with a fruit salad for the main course and a baked funnel cake with berry infused fresh cream. The Culinary Ninjas won the round.
Lamorinda Iron Chefs vs. Organic Fanatics vs. Clever Clover
Secret ingredient: broccoli
The Organic Fanatics made a sweet and tangy yogurt sauce for a kabob appetizer, a veggie stuffed burger on a lettuce bun, and a baked funnel cake. They focused on creating a healthy, well-balanced meal.
The Clever Clovers made baked potato chips, chicken and broccoli kabobs, and a dessert smoothie.
The Lamorinda Iron Chefs made zucchini and broccoli backed chips, a gyro with a broccoli sauce, and a chocolate, broccoli and avocado mousse. They focused on a tasty balanced meal.
The Lamorinda Iron Chefs won the round with the Organic Fanatics in 2nd and the Clever Clover earning 3rd place.
Lamorinda Iron Chefs vs. Culinary Ninjas
Secret ingredient: dried seaweed
The Lamorinda Iron Chefs made a seven-layer bean, salsa, seaweed, guacamole chip, chicken on a stick with a apple and onion slaw, and for a dessert a baked funnel cake with seaweed flakes in the batter and topped off with seaweed and strawberries.
The Culinary Ninjas made a zucchini chip with seaweed hummus, a baked vegetable and seaweed pizza and a berry mouse pretzel cookie.
Lamorinda Iron Chefs were the senior champions of the day. They are eligible to represent California at the Texas State Fair in the National 4-H Cooking Challenge. The contest will be held during the State Fair of Texas in Dallas, October 7 and 8, 2014. The National Food Challenge will not only include a contest, but an educational day as well. More information can be found here: http://texas4-h.tamu.edu/nfchallenge/table>