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* teens 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.

Kentucky 4-H believes that all youth should have opportunities for positive youth development in our four guiding concepts: mastery, belonging, independence, and generosity.  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.  

Are you up for the challenge...the 4-H Culinary Challenge???



  • TBA: Competition 
    Location: Boone County Extension Enrichment Center, 1955 Burlington Pike, Burlington, KY

  • TBA, evening: Educational Session for Challenge competitors (optional)
    Registration through county is required.

  • Eligible participants: District Champion Team selected at the district qualifying event. Teams are made up of teens whose 4-H age is 14-18   All team members must be members from one county. 

  • Contact your county extension office for information on food preparation projects in your county (link). 
  • 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
    • 2016 Secret Ingredients:  Apples, Kale, and Plain Greek Yogurt
    • 2015 Secret Ingredients:  Tomatoes, Summer Squash, and Asparagus 
    • 2014 Secret Ingredients:  Bibb Lettuce, Strawberries, and Smoked Chicken
  • 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 

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