University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

Kentucky 4-H Culinary Challenge

Kentucky 4-H Culinary Challenge

Here’s the Clue for the 2014 KY 4-H Culinary Challenge…

“Dress your dish for the occasion”


Food shows are extremely popular.  The Kentucky 4-H Culinary Challenge is expected to generate interest among foodies and food show fans and add excitement to 4-H food and nutrition projects. The 4-H challenge will be similar to the Food Network’s “Chopped.”

At the state contest, teams of two or three teens from each district will be challenged to create a serving or plate of food using a clue, common ingredients found in a pantry, and secret ingredients.  Since teens need to eat more fruits and vegetables and Kentucky produces an abundance of fine foods, these are guaranteed to be found among the contest’s ingredients. 

A team is made up of 2 or 3 youth currently in grades 9-12.  All team members must be from one county.  

The Culinary Challenge will put everything youth have learned about FOOD and NUTRITION to the test.

It will challenge youth to:

  • Increase their knowledge of food and nutrition.
  • Master food preparation and safety skills.
  • Use creativity when preparing, combining and presenting food.
  • Include more fruits and vegetables and Kentucky products in meals.
  • Apply nutrition principles to the real-life meal planning.
  • Learn from each other and experienced mentors.
  • Develop real-world leadership skill in working as a team.
  • Increase skill in public speaking.    


About the Kentucky 4-H Culinary Challenge…

The Challenge:  Team members must use their food preparation skills, knowledge of nutrition and food safety, leadership skills, and creativity to prepare a serving or plate of food and then make a presentation about it to the judges. The presentation will include information about the nutritional value, serving size, preparation skills and decision-making behind the dish. On-site preparation of the food allows 4-H members to demonstrate their culinary skills to the judges. This contest is modeled after the Oklahoma 4-H Food Showdown and Texas 4-H Food Challenge.  


The Event: The 2014 State Kentucky 4-H Culinary Challenge will be held on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 during Kentucky 4-H Teen Conference.  The contest and educational session will take place during track time on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. One team will be selected champion and will receive a special commemorative award.  Members of all teams will receive a bag of Kentucky products.


Qualifying Events: Within each Extension district, agents and volunteers will determine how the team will be selected to compete in the Kentucky 4-H Culinary Challenge.  Some districts may host a district challenge but other districts may come up with other unique methods.  Regardless of the method, the district team will need to be fully prepared for the challenge at the state competition.



Team Manual  (pdf to print your own copy


Volunteer/Agent Resources


National 4-H Food Challenge

The National 4-H Food Challenge is a new event.  In fact, 2014 is the very first!  It will be held at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas.  Educational workshops will be held on the day before the contest.