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Montgomery Co. High School first to repeat as state champion of Farm to School Junior Chef competition

Montgomery County High School became the first team in the history of the Farm to School Junior Chef program to repeat as state champion when it prevailed over Corbin in the fifth annual Junior Chef championship cook off at the Kentucky State Fair.

“Congratulations to Montgomery County on this remarkable achievement,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. “I commend all 16 teams that participated in the state Junior Chef tournament this year. Special thanks go to Sullivan University for supporting this event since its inception and for contributing more than $100,000 in scholarship prizes.”

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, right, presents the Junior Chef state championship trophy to members of the Montgomery County High School 4-H Culinary Team: from left, Jamila Green, Hayden Holley, Jennie Walters, Landon Holley, and Mackenzie Green. (Kentucky Department of Agriculture photo)

The Montgomery County team of Jamila Green, Hayden Holley, Jennie Walters, Landon Holley, and Mackenzie Green prepared Farmers Luau Chicken. Each member of the team, coached by Lee Etta Greer, received a $16,000 scholarship offer from Sullivan University.

The “Roasting Redhounds” of Corbin – Makenzie Belew, Sarah Sawyers, and Ken Trudelle – prepared Pollo y Pavo Fajita Flatbread. Corbin was coached by Jessica Lester. Each Corbin team member was awarded a $10,000 scholarship offer from Sullivan.

Sawyers was named Most Valuable Chef of the tournament and earned an additional $6,000 scholarship offer from Sullivan.

Each member of the two finalist teams received two culinary textbooks from John Wiley & Sons.

Graves County and Bath County rounded out the top four teams. Each member of the Graves County and Bath County teams received a $6,000 scholarship offer from Sullivan.

Middle-school students advancing to high school for the following school year were allowed to compete for the first time in the program’s history; one team, Beaumont Middle School in Fayette County, was made up of all middle school students. Also, the team from the Kentucky School for the Deaf (KSD) in Danville advanced to the state tournament for the first time, and KSD’s entire high school attended the competition to watch their team compete on Aug. 22.

Montgomery County will go on to represent Kentucky in the first Southeastern Junior Chef tournament, hosted by Sullivan University in Louisville, next May. Montgomery County will compete against Junior Chef state champions from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Junior Chef encourages participating students to learn how to cook by using local ingredients to prepare healthy meals while teaching students about agriculture, marketing, organization, teamwork, and community involvement.

The Junior Chef season begins with district competition in the spring and continues with regional matches to determine the teams that will advance to the state tournament. Junior Chef teams are made up of two to five students.

The Junior Chef competition is part of the Kentucky Proud Farm to School Program, which helps Kentucky schools purchase local foods to serve to their students. Children get fresh, nutritious foods to help them grow up healthy and strong. Local farmers get another market for their farm products.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture administers the Farm to School Program and the Junior Chef competition. For more information, contact Tina Garland, the KDA’s Farm to School Program Administrator, at (502) 382-7505 ortina.garland@ky.gov, or visit www.kyagr.com.

From Kentucky Agriculture Department

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