FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MICHIGAN JUNIOR CHEF
By JOE VAILLANCOURT AND ELAINE BRISTOL
Michigan State University College of Agriculture and Nature Resources
September 17, 2009
East Lansing, Mich. – The first ever Michigan Junior Chef Competition, jointly hosted by Michigan Nutrition Network (MNN), Michigan State University Extension and the C.S. Mott Chair of Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University (MSU), will bring seven teams from low-income high schools together to promote healthy and locally-grown foods.
The event, which begins at 10 a.m. on Sept. 19 at MSU’s Anthony Hall, is being held to encourage students to eat healthy, show-off their cooking skills, and highlight seasonal Michigan foods. The student-created dishes may serve as practical alternatives or new dishes for school food service meals and will be released statewide in a recipe book.
"One thing we know for sure is that when kids are involved in preparing their own food they are more likely to eat it,” said MNN Director Paul McConaughy. “The Michigan Junior Chef Competition gives us a way to get kids involved that is fun and focuses on school lunch."
The competition’s seven teams with three to four high school students per team, will make healthy culinary creations featuring ingredients from Michigan growers. The majority of local fruits and vegetables were purchased at Thursday’s Select Michigan Farmers Market at the Capitol.
The dishes must meet a variety of requirements, including at least two Michigan seasonal foods, at least two federal commodity foods and school meals nutrient standards. In addition to the cooking competition, students will present a creative healthy food marketing packing to the panel of judges, a requirement of the contest. Contest categories include best in show, best use of local ingredients and best nutrition and marketing packet with the top three teams receiving prizes.
The seven participating teams come from around the state, including Hillsdale, Benton Harbor, Coldwater, Iron River and Harbor Beach. All students represent schools which have at least 50 percent of the student body eligible for free and reduced-priced meals.
Aside from the cooking competition, students will tour sit in on a healthy cooking demonstration and will tour the MSU Dairy Store and MSU’s Student Organic Farm.
For more information, please contact Colleen Matts at firstname.lastname@example.org.