The Van Zandt County 4-H Food Challenge winners advance to district

4-H Food Challenges teams met at the Texas A&M AgriLife Office in Canton in mid-February to demonstrate their skills to a panel of three judges. 

The two teams were given two separate bags of ingredients and asked to create their own signature dishes.

Teams were given 40 minutes to prepare a dish using the ingredients they were given.  One team received the ingredients to make a skillet lasagna which included Italian sausage. The other team was given the ingredients for a vegetable chicken stir fry.

Van Zandt County Extension Agent Melisa Rhodes said that she attempts “to select recipes that will challenge the young chefs to think outside the box in order to assist them when they compete at the next level.  

“We are truly blessed with some outstanding young people who

demonstrate advanced culinary skills that can be compared to many adult chefs.” 

Once the teams finished preparing their dishes they plated and garnished them before presenting the culinary creation to the panel of judges.

Each team was given five minutes to present their dish. 

Prior to presenting the dish they calculated the cost per serving and the nutritional information for the dish.

The panel of judges observed during the preparation process and then were allowed to ask questions following their oral presentations.

Representing Van Zandt County 4-H at the District level in the Intermediate Age Category will be the team from Martins Mill 4-H referred to as Little Cupcakes and coached by volunteer leaders Tammy Dixon and Jennifer Wandres.   

The Little Cupcakes are Mackenzie Phillips, Chloe Dixon, Isabella Wandres and Julianna Grapevine.

The team known as the “Pink Ladies” from the Project Club in Canton and coached by volunteer leaders Cindy Randolph and Holly Ross will be in the Senior Age category.

The Pink Ladies team members are Katelyn Melton, Sabrina Swinford, Alyse Randolph and Sierra Ross.  

The Senior team hopes to place in the top two teams at the District competition so they can represent Van Zandt County again this year at the State 4-H Roundup in June, Rhodes said.