On behalf of Commissioner Ryan Quarles, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture would like to invite you to join our annual Kentucky Farm to School Junior Chef competition. This is a statewide high school cooking competition designed to offer youth the opportunity to learn valuable skills in recipe development, food preparation, marketing, public presentation, organization, teamwork and community involvement.
Additionally, the program will stimulate interest in local agriculture, create a nontraditional market for Kentucky producers, increase quality of products available to school cafeterias, and ultimately increase consumption of produce by Kentucky’s students. A full copy of rules and information can be found on our website listed below. I encourage you to put a team together and come join the fun!
Hundreds of Kentucky students have participated in the Farm to School Junior Chef competition since its inception in 2013.
The competition opens with district tournaments, followed by regional tournaments, and culminates in the state tournament at the Kentucky State Fair in August.
Here are past Junior Chef teams and some of the winning dishes.
Thanks to the generosity of these sponsors, the Farm to School Junior Chef Program is able to promote a variety of educational experiences for students across the Commonwealth. Students learn educational life skills including culinary practices, recipe development, food preparation/presentation, and the nutritional value of fresh local foods as well as marketing, teamwork, and community outreach. By investing in the Farm to School Junior Chef Program, not only will the next generation be healthier, but they will also be more informed consumers who value farmers and support local food systems, not as a novelty, but as a way of life.
Below are the Junior Chef finalists who cooked their way to the final drive in the
Farm to School Junior Chef State Championship in Louisville.
All required forms, recipes, and the $150 team entry fee must be mailed to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and postmarked no later than April 15, of program year.
Ready to enter the Farm to School Junior Chef competition? Click below to read the rules, browse the Frequently Asked Questions, learn how the competition is judged, and download the paper application and parental consent forms.
Kentucky State Fair dates are August 17 – 27, 2023
When and where is this event taking place? The Kentucky Farm to School Junior Chef competition will be held at the Kentucky State Fair August 17 – 27, 2023. The event is open to the public (gate fee) and will feature fun activities for the whole family including chef demonstrations, food vendors, and entertainment throughout the day.
Who can participate? Any Kentucky student in grades 8-12 is eligible. Each team must have two and five members. Teams may have an alternate student, but the total number of team members on the day of the competition may not exceed five. NOTE: Alternate team members must also submit their contact information and permission slip.
How can I get involved with Kentucky Farm to School Junior Chef? If you are a student in grade 8-12, you can show off your cooking skills by competing in Kentucky Farm to School Junior Chef on your high school cooking team. Otherwise, you can join the fun by volunteering or sponsoring Kentucky Farm to School Junior Chef.
How do I register my team? The team application and all other forms are available on the Farm to School page at www.kyagr.com. A parental permission and release form is needed for each student participant. Final application deadline is April 15th. Teams are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible.
Can our adult/chaperone help us cook? No Team Coaches or Supervisors may help cook at the competition. However, these adults may provide hands-off guidance and advice.
How much time do teams have to cook? Teams have 1 1/2 hours to cook and a half-hour to clean up. Remember, you may not bring any prepared foods to the competition and must perform all food preparation at the event.
Sullivan University judges most of the district and region competitions. They will judge all the Kentucky State Fair events. We are looking for chefs in the western and eastern part of the state to judge some events. If you are a chef, and you would like to participate, email email@example.com.
The Team Adult must understand and agree to the following conditions. Failure to understand and follow these instructions will result in team elimination from competition.
This form must be completed by the parent/guardian of each student who wishes to participate in the Kentucky Farm to School Junior Chef Competition during the school year 2017. A completed form must be submitted by each team member along with their application and registration fee postmarked no later than April 15th.
There is a $150 entry fee. Registration fees help cover hosting costs of Kentucky Farm to School Junior Chef. Teams are encouraged to seek local sponsors to support all expenses associated with participation including entry fee, cost of ingredients, etc. Fee may be paid by your Food Service Director per Kentucky Department of Education School Nutrition Division.OK, we're registered...now what?
Make sure that all of your signed Permission and Release Forms for each team member, recipe, and application along with the $150 entry fee have been postmarked by April 15th or else your team application will be cancelled.
Each team may consist of 2-5 students. High School teams any combination of 8-12th graders. Note: Seniors may not be able to attend State competition due to event timing. Absence of a Senior team member does not allow a team to withdraw from competition. Also all transportation needs and finance approvals should be discussed with proper administration by June 1st in order to allow time for a replacement team if you can not attend State competition. Each team must have an Adult Team Supervisor who is present for the duration of the competition. Team Supervisors must be a school employee, parent, Chef or Adult Representative of related Community organization. Each team is also allowed but not required to have a Team Coach. The Team Coach could be a school food service professional, chef, farmer, Family Consumer Science Teacher or foodie who helps the team create and practice a recipe in preparation for the event. Only students may cook during the competition. The Team Supervisor and/or Coach may only provide hands-off guidance in cooking techniques and safety. Any other adult involvement in the cooking will result in disqualification of the team. Dish must meet the NSLP menu guidelines. Dish must be Food Service Staff "friendly" allowing them to incorporate the recipe into their school menu.
High school teams may consist of any combination of students in grades 8-12. Entry fees are non-refundable.
If you have any questions or comments you may submit them online.
Be sure to mail your $150 team entry fee and application to:
Kentucky Farm to School Junior Chef
Kentucky Department of Agriculture
107 Corporate Drive
Frankfort, KY 40601
ATTN: Jr Chef Program