The Southeast Region Junior Chef competition pitted winning teams from six states against each other last week for top honors. Jasmine Satcher, left, and Emmarie Ligon, half of Kentucky's top team, the Henderson County Colonel’s Cookin’ Crazies, cook up their dish for the competition. The team came in second to South Carolina's junior chef team. Alabama finished third. For more pictures of the event, click here. (Kentucky Department of Agriculture)
Kentucky team places second in regional cooking competition
High school culinary champions from six states compete for top honors
FRANKFORT (May 16, 2023) – South Carolina’s junior chef team came out on top at the sixth annual Southeast Region Junior Chef Competition last week at Sullivan University in Louisville. The competition featured state champions from six states in the region. Kentucky’s team, out of Henderson County High School, placed second.
“These teams are exactly what Junior Chef is all about – teaching cooking skills, teamwork, and appreciation for fresh, nutritious local foods,” Commissioner of Agriculture Dr. Ryan Quarles said. “Congratulations to all the participants for making it to this regional competition. We thank all the parents, teachers, and advisors who support their efforts, and we are especially grateful to Sullivan University for partnering with us on the Junior Chef program from the beginning.”
The Southeast Region Junior Chef competition, featuring high school students, pits the champions of states in the southeastern United States in a cook off to demonstrate their culinary arts skills and uses local agricultural food products. The competition featured teams from Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Representatives from Tennessee’s Junior Chef program were also in attendance.
As part of a longstanding partnership with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Sullivan University offers scholarship awards to the winning chefs. As overall winners, each South Carolina team member received a $10,000 scholarship from Sullivan University. Kentucky team members received an $8,000 scholarship. Team members on third-place winner Alabama were awarded $5,000 scholarships.
The Southeast Region Junior Chef Competition was hosted by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA). Technical assistance was provided by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), Southeast Regional Office.
In Kentucky, Junior Chef is a statewide high school culinary competition founded by the KDA in 2013. The competition teaches valuable skills in recipe development, food preparation, marketing, public presentation, organization, teamwork, and community involvement. At the same time, participating students learn about the importance of agriculture and the economic impact that purchasing local foods can have on communities.
Kentucky’s next Junior Chef season is underway. Sixteen district teams will compete for the state Junior Chef championship at the Kentucky State Fair in August in Louisville.
For more information about the Kentucky Junior Chef Program, go to kyagr.com/junior-chef.