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Rules to Remember

These are some of the main guidelines for the Farm to School Junior Chef competition: 

Each team may consist of two-five students, any combination in grades 8-12.

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 a 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 sciences 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 provide only hands-off guidance in cooking techniques and safety. Any other adult involvement in the cooking will result in team disqualification.

Dish must meet the National School Lunch Program menu guidelines.

Dish must be food service staff friendly, for ease of incorporating the recipe into a school menu.

Entry Fee: $150 entry fee per school (only one team per school).

To learn more about the Farm to School Junior Chef program, contact Tina Garland, at (502) 382-7505 or Additional details can also be found here.

Junior Chef Partners and Sponsors:

These sponsors make it possible for students all across the commonwealth to learn valuable culinary practices, teamwork, community outreach skills and healthier dietary habits, while also being informed consumers who support local farmers and food products.

Kentucky Department of Education, School and Community Nutrition
Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association
Kentucky Department of Agriculture
Kentucky Proud
Kentucky State Fair Board
Kentucky Venues
Sullivan University
United States Department of Agriculture Food & Nutrition Service, Southeast Regional Office
University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension

Cooking Champion Battleground

When it comes to farm-to-school programs, and particularly, the Farm to School Junior Chef competition, Kentucky is leading the way nationally. Sean Southard, communications director for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, credits the program’s growth and success to Administrative Branch Manager Tina Garland, Division of Food Distribution Director Bill Wickliffe and Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles.

As a result of their combined networking efforts and partnerships with sponsors to promote farm-to-school programs, Kentucky hosted the first-ever Southeast Regional Junior Chef Competition last year. Champion cooking teams from eight states competed in the inaugural event, with the Maxwell High School of Technology team from Lawrenceville, Georgia, claiming the championship title. Coming in second were two-time Kentucky state champs, Montgomery County 4-H.Just last month, Junior Chef state champions from across the Southeast once again competed in the second annual cook-off held at Sullivan University. Prize packages ranged from full tuition and fees offers from Sullivan for first place team members to $20,000 Sullivan scholarship offers for third place.

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