Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Food Challenge

Our favorite 4-H event so far is the Food Challenge. The kids participated in it when we lived in Corpus Christi, but this was our first Food Challenge contest to enter with our new 4-H club since we've moved back home.

In the Food Challenge, the kids come prepared with a big bin of cooking supplies. Then they are given some "secret ingredients" that are intended to be used for a specific recipe, but they encourage creativity and thinking outside the box, so it's fun to see what they come up with! They have 40 minutes to cook their dish and prepare to give a 5 minute presentation to the judges about what they made, how they made it, the nutritional value, and the cost of the food.

The big Houston Rodeo started hosting this contest last year, so our club decided to enter a team during registration back before Christmas. Our 4-H club spent most of 2015 focused on Food and Nutrition, and the girls on the team continued to practice this year as they approached the contest.

One of the girls had to drop at the last minute due to a death in the family, so Ellie ended up joining the team.  They were called the Sweet and Spicy Chefs, and they did an amazing job, winning 2nd place overall in their Junior age division (3rd-8th grade)! We are so proud of them and look forward to another Food Challenge this spring!

We were nearly late, sprinting through the exhibit hall to find the spot where the contest would be held. But they made it in time! Here's the orientation:

And they begin cooking!

Little brothers watching from the stands

Daddy brought BopBop to come and watch!

We aren't sure who was filming, but it definitely made for an exciting time!

They made a vegetable stir-fry during the first round.

While awaiting the awards, Thomas got to do Mutton Busting!

There he goes!

The kids enjoyed some time in the AgVenture exhibits (and we lost Thomas a few times)

Little sis had fun running around!

The awards for the first round were so exciting! They awarded 1st-3rd place in each food category (meats, grains, fruits/veggies, Nutritious Snacks) for both juniors and seniors. The girls were so utterly excited and surprised to hear their number called for 1st place in the Fruits and Vegetables category! They were hugging and jumping up and down. So cute and happy! All the 1st place winners would advance to the final round, so we got to stay for this last round with the top 8 teams.

All four junior teams were given the same ingredients, which were intended to be used to make salmon patties (canned salmon, an egg, crackers, etc). The girls made a salmon dip with a small side salad instead, and they did a great job working together.

They had to present in front of 3 judges and a bunch of Rodeo volunteers

So intimidating, but they did great!

Here is their award-winning dish!


So proud of these girls!

What a fun learning experience! We look forward to many more Food Challenges!

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