Owen County Junior Chefs Win With A New "Breakfast Anytime" Standard
Owen County High School's "Cuisine Rebels" team won Kentucky's Farm to School Junior Chef competition at the Kentucky State Fair with a dish that used nearly three times the required number of Kentucky Proud ingredients. (Requirement: five; Used: 13)
Lexington Herald-Leader food writer Sharon Thompson wrote a lovely story about the win and included the recipe for the winning dish, "Potato Crusted Bacon Cheeseburger Quiche." The Cuisine Rebels' individual servings of the quiche, baked in giant muffins pans, featured a potato cup filled with eggs, cheese, milk, sour cream, six flavorful vegetables, ground beef and, yes, bacon. The quiche meets school lunch qualifications (which may explain the margarine; the runner-up dish also included the stuff, which I'd rather our students never encountered.)
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture's Farm to School program sponsors the annual Junior Chef competition, which operates in Sweet Sixteen fashion—that's basketball tournament lingo, for the unfortunate un-Bluegrassians among us—meaning each team that reached the finals at the Fair had first scored wins at the district and regional levels. In the 2013-14 school year, the second for the Junior Chef competition, 38 schools competed; more schools are expected to take part this year.
The "Purple Cow Crew" from Thomas Nelson High School near Bardstown won runners-up honors for their Generals Sloppy Phils, a sandwich . Both winners and runners-up won sizable scholarships to Sullivan University and quite a few serious-looking chef-y gifts.
Bill Wicliffe, who directs the Food Distribution Division at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, told the sizable crowd that school lunch program at Mayfield Independent High School, which fielded the 2012-13 champion Junior Chefs, served Baked Fajitas, the winning dish, every Tuesday throughout the last school year. Which is better, that kind of ongoing tribute, or the $70,000 in scholarship money, giant cooking encyclopedias, knife sets, and the silver skillet that go home with the winners and runners-up? Perhaps both.
Savoring Kentucky applauds every team. We look forward to the expansion of the Junior Chef program across the Commonwealth.