The Kentucky 4-H Culinary Challenge puts everything teens have learned about food preparation and nutrition to the test. 

To prepare, youth:

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

At the state contest, teams of two to four are challenged to create a dish using three secret ingredients, supplemented with items from the pantry. They rely on the skills learned rather than a recipe.  Teams present their creation to the judges, explain their decisions, the preparation skills involved, talk about the nutritive value of the food on the plate, and determine the number of servings from the food groups included.

The Kentucky 4-H Culinary Challenge fosters mastery of food preparation and food safety skills; belonging by working together to accomplish a goal; independence by developing the skills needed to eat healthy foods for a lifetime, and generosity by teaching these skills to others.  



Sr. Competition

  • Friday August 7th, 2020
  • Location: Boone County Extension Enrichment Center, 1955 Burlington Pike, Burlington, KY
  • Thursday evening: Educational Session for Challenge competitors will be at the Boone County Extension Enrichment Center (optional)
  • Registration through county is required.
  • Eligible participants: selected at the district qualifying event. Teams are made up of 2-4 youth ages 14-18   All team members must be members from one county. 

Jr. Competition

  • Saturday, August 29th, 2020
  • Location: Kentucky State Fair
  • Registration through county is required
  • Eligible participates: First 14 teams to submit registration. Teams are made up of 2-4 youth ages 11-13. All team members must be members from one county. 

Click here additional information for Agents



  • Eligible participants will be registered through their county Extension office.

  • Personal Information & Enrollment Form (PIEF)


Additional Information

  • Secret Ingredients Clue:
    • Ingredient 1: TBA
    • Ingredient 2: TBA
    • Ingredient 3: TBA

  • Thursday Night Educational Experience: 
  • Past Challenges
    • 2019 Secret Ingredients: Watermellon, Patty Pan Squash, and Microgreens 
    • 2018 Secret Ingredients:  Fresh Ginger, Quinoa, and Eggplant
    • 2017 Secret Ingredients:  Cauliflower, Avocado, and Tomato Paste
  • National 4-H Food Challenge, Dallas, TX
    • Texas 4-H videos: The Texas 4-H Food Challenge is more similar to the national contest than it is to the Kentucky 4-H Culinary Challenge so it may be beneficial for the team going to Dallas to watch these short videos.


Volunteer Opportunities 

Agent Resources (Linkblue Required)

State Contact:  Isaac Hilpp| | 859-218-0990