Clark 4-H cooking clubs face off in contest

Published 4:33 pm Monday, May 1, 2017

Members of the 4-H Discovering Cooking Club put their skills to the test Thursday night during a team cooking competition.

According to instructor Leann Comer, the contest was styled after popular television show “Chopped,” with teams of contestants going head-to-head making themed dishes with secret ingredients.

Discovering Cooking is one of two cooking clubs in Clark County, Comer said. It is aimed at younger learners between the ages of 9 and 11.

Email newsletter signup

“We have about 15 kids in the club and meet once a month,” Comer said.

Meeting topics focus on single aspects of cooking, like making desserts or working with specific ingredients. Comer said the culinary challenge was a good way to test club members on what they had learned from the monthly meetings.

Mentoring the club members during the challenge were three junior chefs from Montgomery County who have competed in regional and state competitions. The mentors selected the final direction their teams would take after brainstorming for recipe ideas with their younger peers.

But while the mentors oversaw the cooking their teammates did, the challenge remained very hands-on for the club members themselves, who selected and measured ingredients, chopped vegetables and used kitchen appliances like ovens and mixers.

The competition involved making two dishes. First, each team had to come up with a healthy snack that utilized at least one grain, one fruit or vegetable, and one protein.

After completing their snacks, the teams were tasked with creating a desert that had to include a secret ingredient: Lucky Charms cereal.

The teams had 30 minutes to make each dish, plate and present them to judges Sarah Condley, Charles Comer and Amy Reece.

Leann Comer and co-instructor Leslie Hammer said they were proud of their club after watching them perform so well in the competition.

“We almost cried, we were so proud of you all,” Comer said after the winning team was announced.

Logan Hammer, a member of the winning team mentored by Mackenzie Green, said that he enjoyed taking part in the competition.

“My favorite part was definitely working with our team,” he said. “I had fun listening to other peoples’ ideas and sharing my own ideas.”

Hammer said the most difficult part of the competition was not shouting out in joy when he his team was named the winners, because that would be bad sportsmanship.