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Florida 4-H Food Challenge: Event Hosting Guide

Geralyn Sachs

This publication was originally created by Extension professionals from Texas A&M AgriLife and was modified by Geralyn Sachs, UF/IFAS 4-H RSA in 2022.

Hosting a Florida 4-H Food Challenge

The Florida 4-H Food Challenge provides an opportunity for youth to demonstrate their ability to work as a team to create and present a randomly assigned dish, using an assortment of undetermined food items, with limited time and supplies. This event is open for youth ages 8-18, as of September 1st of the current 4-H year.

Counties who have youth interested in the 4-H Food Challenge are encouraged to hold a local event if possible. In addition to this guide, the Florida 4-H Food Challenge Committee will assist if needed and when possible.

There are a lot of moving parts to hosting a 4-H Food Challenge event. This guide includes important information that will help you plan and organize a smooth event that provides a positive learning experience for your youth participants, judges, and event helpers.

Information in this guide pertains to what needs to be addressed before, during, and after a food challenge event.

Before the Event

  • Facility Requirements
  • Team Registration
  • Recruit Event Helpers
  • Recognition Supplies
  • Prepare Scoresheets, Judge and Team Packets, and Overall Score Tally Sheets

Facility Requirements: When setting the date/time and making room reservations for a 4-H Food Challenge event, keep in mind that this is a full day event. Depending upon the number of teams you have competing, the facility should be a large open area that has access to electric outlets and potable water. It is helpful if you have access to multiple rooms that can be dedicated for each session of this event. If needed, some of the rooms could serve dual-purpose, providing the sessions happen at different times. Room space will be needed for the following activities:

Box Check-In: Could be held in an entry lobby area with one table and two chairs.

Judges Orientation: Should be a closed room with chairs for judges. This could be conducted a day or two before the event if needed.

Helper’s Orientation: Could be held in the food preparation area before the event begins. This could be conducted a day or two before the event if needed.

Team Orientation: Could be held in the lobby gathering area, or in a corner of the food preparation area.

Food Challenge Preparation: The number of teams entered, will determine the size of the Food Challenge Preparation area. This area should allow for one, 6-foot table per team to be spread out around the room. Each table will need to access electricity. Additional tables will be needed for the “grocery store”, water coolers, and additional supplies. Plenty of trash cans need to be located around the room for easy access.

Holding Area: This is a waiting area for youth when they have completed the food preparation session and are waiting in silence for their time to give their presentation. Chairs along the wall of the food preparation room or in the hallway could serve as the holding pen.

Food Challenge Presentation: Food presentations should be held in a closed room with one table, two to three chairs for judges, and no spectators.

Recognition Ceremony: Any gathering place with chairs will suffice. A stage would be nice but not required.

Team Registration: Be sure to advertise your 4-HFood Challenge event as early as possible, as this will allow your team captains adequate time to prepare youth teams for the 4-H Food Challenge. Set your registration deadline at a time that is convenient for you. A recommended deadline would be at least two weeks before your event. See sample registration form included in this guide (pdf version).

Recruit Event Helpers: Having plenty of helpers in the appropriate places on the day of the 4-H Food Challenge will help things to run smoothly and provide a positive experience for youth teams, event helpers, and judges. Below are the key helpers you will need to recruit to help you facilitate the 4-H Food Challenge. The number of people you need, will vary depending on the number of teams you have participating in your 4-H Food Challenge.

Registration/ Check-In: Three to four people to check in teams and supply boxes. (A random box check process may be used.)

Timekeeper: One person to give time warnings during preparation phase of contest.

Group Leaders: One per category, per age division to serve as group leaders.

Judges: Two to three people for each age division for judging food preparations AND two to three people for each age division for judging food presentations.

Runners: Two to four people depending on the number of participants, size of contest area, and location of judging stations.

Room/Hall Monitors: One to two monitors in case participants must leave the contest room to use there’s room.

Recognition Supplies This event provides an opportunity for youth to be recognized for their ability to work as a team, as well as their knowledge and demonstration of food and equipment safety, nutrition, MyPlate, oral presentation skills, creativity, and more. Recognition for youth participants could be ribbons, team banners, pins, certificates, or an honorary spoon. Recognition of appreciation for event helpers, team captains, and judges can be a word of thanks, small herb/flower plant, or certificate of appreciation.

Scoresheets, Team Packets, and Overall Score Tally Sheet: Scoresheets, team recourse packets, and an overall tally score sheet will need to be gathered and prepared. These documents, or links to these documents, are included in this guide (pdf version).

  • Each Judge Packet Includes: a clip board, scoresheets labeled with team name/age, question examples, pencils with erasers, resources listed below that are also provided to teams.
  • Each Youth Team Receives: an age level worksheet and laminated copies of the FightBac - Fight Foodborne Bacteria Brochure, Food and Kitchen Safety Fact Sheet, Know Your Nutrients, and MyPlate mini poster.

Sample Schedule for the Day

A sample contest schedule is provided below. Number of rounds will be determined by the number of teams you have and space available.

*Event start time can be adjusted to meet the number of rounds needed for your event.

Table 1. Sample Schedule

Time

Activity

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

Box Check-In

8:30 a.m.

Orientation

8:50 a.m.

Cooking / Food Preparation Begins

9:30 a.m.

Food Preparation Stops / Transition Time

9:40 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Team Presentations

After last presentation

Break/ Recognition Ceremony / Cleanup

Day of the Event

  • Sample Schedule for the Day
  • Judge Orientation Talking Points
  • Event Helper/Group Leader Orientation Talking Points
  • Participant Orientation Talking Points
  • Youth Recognition Ceremony/Appreciation of Judges, Helpers, and Team Captains
  • Cleanup

Judge Orientation Talking Points

Note: The rules in this guide are for the Florida 4-H Food Challenge competition. County and district guidelines may vary slightly.

  1. Welcome!
  2. Introductions and Assign Judging Roles: Event needs two to three judges per judging session.
  3. Objectives of the 4-H Food Challenge:
  • Provide an opportunity for youth to exhibit their knowledge of food safety and nutrition.
  • Provide a comprehensive “project focused” team learning experience for youth related to food preparation, safety, nutrition, and cost analysis.
  • Provide youth an opportunity to creatively compose and present an accurate educational oral presentation.
  • Provide an opportunity for youth to develop critical thinking, problem solving, and marketable skills through food-related project work.

4. Definition of Team: Group made up of three to four youth members of the same age division.

5. Contest and Judging Procedures:

  • Groups have been randomly assigned to one of four categories: Appetizer, Main Dish, Side Dish, or Healthy Dessert.
  • Teams do not know what category they have been assigned until they arrive today.
  • Each team is provided with educational resources on nutrition and food safety. These resources can be used to help the team members prepare their presentation. Teams are not allowed to bring in their own resources. Please note that teams are encouraged to study additional resources to adequately prepare for this contest.
  • Judges will need to refer to the Food Safety Fact Sheet regarding recommended food safety practices teams should follow.
  • Gloves: Gloves do not have to be worn throughout the contest; however, there should always be a barrier between your hand and any food touched. A barrier includes gloves and/or cooking utensil. When wearing gloves, they must be changed between handling raw meats/seafood; handling cooked items; and ready to eat items or raw vegetables to prevent cross contamination.
  • Hair Restraint: Each team member must wear a hat, hair net, and/or other type of hair restraint during the food preparation part of the competition. Examples of acceptable hair restraints include hairnets, bandanas with hair completely pulled back, Chef hats with hair restrained inside, or caps with hair completely tucked inside.
  • Illness: Team members who are not feeling well and/or are showing signs of illness will not be able to take part in the food challenge. This is an opportunity for an alternate team member to step in.
  • Judges should use FightBac as the resource for recommended minimum internal cooking temperatures.
  • Teams may be provided with a receipt for their ingredients to determine the total cost of the dish and the cost per serving if applicable.
  • Judges Will Receive:
    • The name of the mystery ingredient teams have been given for their category.
    • A copy of any necessary cost analysis information such as grocery store pricing guide, mystery ingredient cost, etc. (if applicable).
    • A copy of the educational resources that teams are given to reference.

Food PREPARATION Session Overview

  • There will be a mystery ingredient provided to each team at their station; no ingredient amounts, recipe or instructions will be provided. The mystery ingredient will be representative of one of the following categories: Appetizer, Main Dish, Side Dish, or Healthy Dessert.
  • Teams will have access to a “grocery store” of additional ingredients which should be combined with the team’s mystery ingredient to create an original recipe/dish during the contest. Teams must use at least two additional items from the grocery store.
  • Grocery store items will be “purchased” using a pricing system and “contest currency.” This will enable teams to analyze the cost of their entire dish and individual serving. The cost analysis system will be explained prior to the contest. Teams may not exceed the provided “contest currency” or trade “currency” or grocery store items with other teams. For example, teams may be provided $5.00 in “contest currency” to spend at the grocery store; each item in the grocery store will be priced; and teams must calculate cost according to total spent in grocery store.
  • Each team will create an entire dish/recipe (not a full meal) using the provided mystery ingredient and grocery store items. Teams should present the entire dish/recipe to the judges and communicate during their presentation what an individual serving size should be. Teams will be responsible for determining the number of servings their dish provides. Teams should not create side or multiple dishes with their ingredients/grocery store items.
  • Judges’ questions should be related to food preparation techniques and safety relevant to what the youth are preparing. Suggested questions are included in this guide.
  • Youth may use note cards to write down the recipe that the team creates, along with notes related to nutrition, food safety, and cost analysis. Teams should be exact on ingredients used, preparation steps, cooking time, temperature, etc.
  • Teams have 40 minutes to complete this session.

Food PRESENTATION Session Overview

  • After the 40-minute preparation period, teams will give their presentation. There will be:
    • 5 minutes for a presentation
    • 3 minutes for judges’ questions
    • 3 minutes between team presentations for scoring and comments
  • All team members should participate in the presentation.
  • Following the preparation phase of the contest, each team will give a 5-minute presentation to a panel of judges. All team members should participate in the presentation.
  • To earn maximum points, teams must use these 5 minutes to address the following areas of the presentation scorecard: Knowledge of MyPlate, Nutrition Knowledge, Food Preparation, Safety Concerns, and Serving Size and Cost Information.
  • At the end of 5 minutes, time will be called – additional time will not be allowed. Judges will be allowed 3 minutes to ask questions; however, judges may not ask questions related to what teams should have covered during the presentation.
  • Judges’ questions for the food presentation should be related to general nutrition, health, chronic disease prevention, or others relevant to food and nutrition. Suggested questions are included in this guide.
  • When asking questions of the teams, please be sure to keep them age appropriate. While each presentation will vary, it’s also important to try your best to be consistent with the questions you ask each team.
  • Judges should ask consistent questions to each team they are judging. Questions SHOULD NOT be related to any area that should have been included in the team presentation which includes Knowledge of MyPlate, Nutrition Knowledge, Food Preparation, Safety Concerns, and Serving Size and Cost.
  • Teams are allowed the use of notecards during the presentation but should not read from them, as this minimizes the effectiveness of their communication.
  • Please be sure to provide comments on the scorecard for each team. This will help them improve their presentation in the future. Constructive feedback gives young people a positive learning experience.
  • Judges will have the option to taste the foods prepared.
  • Placing will be based on combined preparation and presentation judge scores. Placing based on scores will be final upon tabulation. Judges should not leave judging area until dismissed. Judges’ results are final upon announcement.
  • Please stay on time with the judging of the presentations so the entire contest can stay on time. Teams should follow the guidelines of only a 5-minute team presentation. Group leaders will serve as timekeeper, at the end of the 5-minute presentation time, timekeeper will say “stop” to indicate presentation should cease. They will then allow 3 minutes for judges’ questions, announcing “stop” at the end of this time. Another option may be for judges to be given a timer or asked to use their cell phone and self-monitor time.
  • Thank you!

Event Helper/Group Leader Orientation Talking Points

Note: The rules in this guide are for the Florida 4-H Food Challenge competition. County and district guidelines may vary slightly.

  1. Welcome!
  2. Introductions and Assigning Roles: Assign each group leader to a category. The number of group leaders will depend on the size of the facility and the number of participants.
  3. Objectives of the 4-H Food Challenge: Provide an opportunity for youth to exhibit their knowledge of food safety and nutrition.
  • Provide a comprehensive “project focused” team learning experience for youth related to food preparation, safety, nutrition, and cost analysis.
  • Provide youth an opportunity to creatively compose and present an accurate educational oral presentation.
  • Provide an opportunity for youth to develop critical thinking, problem solving, and marketable skills through food-related project work.

4. Definition of Team: Made up of three to four youth members of the same age division.

5. Contest and Judging Procedures: (Review so that group leaders understand the process and can answer questions if needed.)

  • Groups have been randomly assigned to one of four categories: Appetizer, Main Dish, Side Dish, or Healthy Dessert. They do not know what category they have been assigned until they arrive today.
  • Each team will be directed to a cooking/preparation station.
  • Teams will have 40 minutes to prepare a dish, plan a presentation, and clean up the preparation area. A 20-minute warning, 10-minute warning, 5-minute warning, and 1 minute warning will be given. NO talking is allowed after the 40 minutes is up.
  • There will be a “mystery” ingredient at each station, but no recipe or instructions. The “mystery” ingredient will be representative of one of the following categories: Appetizer, Main Dish, Side Dish, or Healthy Desserts.
  • Teams must “purchase” & use at least two additional items from the grocery store. These items will be “purchased” using a pricing system and “contest currency” to enable teams to analyze the cost of their dish and individual serving. The cost analysis system will be explained prior to the contest.
  • Teams may not exceed the provided “contest currency” or trade “currency” or grocery store items with other teams. For example, teams may be provided $5.00 in “contest currency” to spend at the grocery store; each item in the grocery store will be priced; and teams must calculate cost according to total spent in grocery store.

6. Each team will create an entire dish (not a full meal) using the provided mystery ingredient and grocery store items. Teams should not create side or multiple dishes with their ingredients/grocery store items.

  • Teams are challenged to be creative and developing an original recipe with the ingredients provided.
  • Teams will determine the exact amount of each ingredient used based on their original recipe.
  • The mystery ingredient and/or grocery store ingredients selected should be used to garnish the dish.

7. Food and Equipment Safety: A safe and sanitary working environment must be maintained during the contest. Each station will have food and kitchen safety resources. Teams should follow the steps listed to ensure proper food and equipment safety is followed. Judges will be scoring teams on food and equipment safety during the preparation phase of the contest.

  • Gloves: Gloves do not have to be worn throughout the contest; however, there should always be a barrier between your hand and any food touched. A barrier includes gloves and/or cooking utensils. When wearing gloves, they must be changed between handling raw meats/seafood; handling cooked items; and ready to eat items or raw vegetables to prevent cross contamination.
  • Hair Restraint: Each team member must wear a hat, hair net, and/or other type of hair restraint during the food preparation part of the competition.
  • Illness: Anyone showing signs of illness, should be quietly brought to the attention of the event coordinator.

8. Nutrition: Each station will have a variety of nutrition resources/references. Only those resources provided by contest officials should be used.

9. Teams that may experience any equipment malfunction(s) may not replace the equipment with supplies from another team, leaders, volunteers, county Extension agents, or contest officials. Instead, team members must work together and be creative in completing preparation without the malfunctioning equipment.

10. If electricity goes out during the preparation phase of the contest, teams will be asked to turn away from the table immediately. Contest officials will stop the clock, so no preparation time is lost.

11. Ingredients have been divided among teams to minimize the cost and reduce wastefulness. If teams need to see an original food package and/or the nutrition facts label, teams may view these in the grocery store table area. Teams may not take the original food package from the table.

12. Water jugs of water will be located throughout the room for teams to use if needed in recipe preparation.

13. Trash cans are located throughout the room for teams to use. Liquids will be disposed of as directed during the youth orientation.

14. Each team had the opportunity to include a small first aid kit in their supply box. If they did not bring a first aid kit or have a major injury, please direct them to the contest First Aid area.

15. After the 40-minute preparation time is up, the team’s area MUST be clean, and all the supplies and extra food items must be in their supply box. If they have a hot plate or other items cooling, it may be the only thing out on the table other than the food the team is presenting to the judges.

16. After time is called for the 40-minute preparation period, neither talking nor writing is allowed among any team members. Team members caught talking and/or writing will receive a warning. The second time, the team will be disqualified and asked to leave the contest facility. Team members should not have pens or pencils in their possession while waiting to give their presentation. Group leaders are asked to monitor and observe teams for talking and/or writing and are allowed to give warnings, keeping contest officials informed of warnings given.

17. Provide instructions on where to lead teams to waiting area for presentations.

18. Please send in teams to the judging room in order by team number. It’s important that we stay on time with the judging of the presentations so the entire contest can stay on time. Teams should follow the guidelines of only a 5-minute team presentation, and judges have three minutes for questions and two minutes for scoring.

19. During the preparation portion of the contest, or while teams are waiting to give their presentation – if any 4-H member must use the restroom, you may allow them to go, providing they do not talk to other 4-H members, parents, etc. When releasing a 4-H member to use the restroom, please alert the hall monitor, if there is one available.

20. Finished dishes MAY NOT leave the preparation/judging area. Dishes will stay in the judging area until all presentations are finished. Youth may be allowed to consume their dish once the competition is over.

21. If you have any questions, please see the contest or group leader coordinator.

22. Thank you for spending your day with us!

Participant Orientation Talking Points

Note: The rules in this guide are for the Florida 4-H Food Challenge competition. County and district guidelines may vary slightly.

  1. Welcome to the 4-H Food Challenge!
  2. No electronic devices or jewelry (except for medically required) is allowed in contest. This includes cell phones, smart watches, or other communication devices.
  3. Each team will be directed to a cooking/preparation station.
  4. Each team will receive an information sheet with their contest category and mystery ingredient for that category. (No ingredient amounts, recipe, or instructions will be provided at the station.) The mystery ingredient will be representative of one of the following categories: Appetizer, Main Dish, Side Dish, or Healthy Desserts. Mystery ingredient examples are Appetizer (chickpeas), Main Dish (fish), Side Dish (fennel), or Healthy Dessert (Apples).
  • Teams will have access to a “grocery store” of additional ingredients which should be combined with the team’s mystery ingredient to create an original recipe/dish during the contest. Grocery store items will include items commonly found in grocery stores and/or home pantries, including items such as produce, seasonings, oils, etc.
  • Teams must “purchase” and use at least two additional items from the grocery store. Teams will also receive a pricing sheet for grocery store items at their station. Grocery store items will be “purchased” using a pricing system and “contest currency.” This will enable teams to analyze the cost of their entire dish and individual serving. The currency system will be explained prior to the contest. Teams may not exceed the provided “contest currency” or trade “currency” or grocery store items with other teams. For example, teams may be provided $5.00 in “contest currency” to spend at the grocery store; each item in the grocery store will be priced; and teams must calculate cost according to total spent in grocery store.

5. Each team will have 40 minutes to prepare the dish, plan a presentation, and clean up the preparation area.

6. Preparation: Each team will create an entire dish/recipe (not a full meal) using the provided mystery ingredient and grocery store items. Teams should present the entire dish/recipe to the judges and communicate during their presentation what an individual serving size should be. Teams will be responsible for determining the number of servings their dish provides. Teams should not create side or multiple dishes with their ingredients/grocery store items.

  • Teams are challenged to be creative, developing an original recipe with the ingredients provided.
  • Teams will determine the exact amount of each ingredient used based on their original recipe.
  • The mystery ingredient and/or grocery store ingredients selected should be used to garnish the dish.
  • Note cards may be used to write down the recipe that the team creates, along with notes related to nutrition, food safety, and cost analysis. Teams should be exact on ingredients used, preparation steps, cooking time, temperature, etc.

7. Food and Equipment Safety: A safe and sanitary working environment must be maintained during the contest. Each station will have food and kitchen safety resources. Teams should follow the steps listed to ensure proper food and equipment safety is followed. Judges will be scoring teams on food and equipment safety during the preparation phase of the contest. Teams should also discuss safety steps used during the presentation phase of the contest.

  • Gloves: Gloves do not have to be worn throughout the contest; however, there should always be a barrier between your hand and any food touched. A barrier includes gloves and/or cooking utensils. When wearing gloves, they must be changed between handling raw meats/seafood; handling cooked items; and ready to eat items or raw vegetables to prevent cross contamination.
  • Hair Restraint: Each team member must wear a hat, hair net, and/or other type of hair restraint during the food preparation part of the competition. Examples of acceptable hair restraints include hairnets, bandanas with hair completely pulled back, Chef hats with hair restrained inside, or caps with hair completely tucked inside.
  • Illness: Team members who are not feeling well and/or are showing signs of illness will not be able to take part in the food challenge. This is an opportunity for an alternate team member to step in.

8. Nutrition: Each station will have a variety of nutrition resources/references. Each team should highlight key nutrients in their dish and their functions during their presentation.

9. Cost Analysis: Price of the mystery ingredient and the grocery store items will be provided to teams. Teams will calculate the price of the dish based on the amount of ingredients used. Teams should calculate the cost of the total recipe, as well as the price per serving. Teams will determine the number of servings for their recipe.

10. Presentation: Following the preparation phase of the contest, each team will give a 5-minute presentation to a panel of judges. All team members should participate in the presentation.

  • To earn maximum points, teams must use these 5 minutes to address the following areas of the presentation scorecard: Knowledge of MyPlate, Nutrition Knowledge, Food Preparation, Safety Concerns, and Serving Size and Cost Information.
  • At the end of 5 minutes, time will be called – additional time will not be allowed. Judges will be allowed 3 minutes to ask questions; however, judges will not ask questions related to what teams should have covered during the presentation. Judges’ questions will be related to general nutrition, health, chronic disease prevention, or others relevant to food and nutrition.

11. Teams that experience any equipment malfunction(s) may not replace the equipment with supplies from another team, leaders, volunteers, county Extension agents, or contest officials. Instead, team members must work together and be creative in completing preparation without the malfunctioning equipment.

12. If electricity goes out during the preparation phase of the contest, teams are asked to turn away from the table immediately. Contest officials will stop the clock so that no preparation time is lost.

13. Ingredients may have been divided among teams to minimize the cost and reduce wastefulness. If teams need to see an original food package and/or the nutrition facts label, you may view it in the grocery store table area if available. Teams may not take the original food package from the table.

14. All fresh produce (fruits and vegetables) has been washed prior to the contest; if not, water stations will be supplied for participants to wash produce.

15. Water jugs will be located throughout the room if needed for food preparation.

16. Trash cans are located throughout the room for your use. Dispose of liquids according to the specifications of the facility being used and as directed during this orientation.

17. Each team had the opportunity to include a small first aid kit in your supply box. If you did not bring a first aid kit, contest officials have one. If you happen to need first aid due to a cut or burn, please let your group leader know immediately so they can assist you!

18. After the 40-minute preparation time is up, your area MUST be clean, and all the supplies and extra food items must be in your supply box. If you have a hot plate or other items cooling, it may be the only thing out on the table other than the food you are presenting to the judges.

19. After time is called for the 40-minute preparation period, neither talking nor writing is allowed among any team members. Team members caught talking and/or writing will receive a warning. The second time, the team will be disqualified and asked to leave the contest facility. Team members should not have pens or pencils in their possession while waiting to give their presentation.

20. Please remain seated once time is up and do not leave the room unless escorted by your group leader to another room to wait to give your team presentation. You will be directed as to where your team will wait until you give your presentation.

21. If you need to use the restroom, please let your group leader know.

22. After your team presentation, you will be directed how to dispose of your prepared dish.

23. After your team presentation, you will be asked to complete an evaluation, giving you the opportunity to share with us your experience in the Food Challenge. When you are done with the evaluation, you are dismissed to leave. Please leave quietly and take your supply box with you! No prepared dishes should leave the contest area. The awards ceremony will take place once all presentations are completed.

24. If you have any questions, please ask your group leader.

25. Enjoy the challenge!

Youth Recognition Ceremony/Appreciation of Judges, Helpers, and Team Captains

Youth can be recognized in multiple ways. Like some 4-H awards ceremonies, youth can be announced in reverse order, beginning with the lower placing youth and progressing to the highest placing youth in each age division. Youth can be recognized with certificates, ribbons, team banners, or the like.

Be sure to show your appreciation to the judges, event helpers, team captains, and event sponsors. Again, this can be done a variety of ways as mentioned earlier in this guide.

Cleanup

Invite youth participants to share in the responsibility of cleaning up after the event. This is an appropriate way for them to give back to the program and exercise their leadership and community service skills.

After the Event

  • Share Scoresheets with Team Captains
  • Food Challenge Advancement Opportunity
  • Set Next Year’s Date

Share Scoresheets With Team Captains: Scoresheets serve as an educational tool for team captains and youth to gain feedback on their strengths and areas needing improvement. A few days after the event, once you have reviewed the scoresheets, copy them, and share them with the team captain. Ask the team captain to meet with the youth team to review and discuss these results.

Food Challenge Advancement Opportunity: As the Florida 4-H Food Challenge gains popularity, so will the opportunities for our Florida 4-H youth. Plans for regional and state competitions are currently being discussed. Stay tuned to the 4-H Weekly Connections for updates.

Set Next Year’s Date: Once you have celebrated your accomplishment of hosting a 4-H Food Challenge for your county 4-H program, it is time to start thinking about next year’s event!

4-H Food Challenge Contest Resources from Texas A&M:

FightBac – Fight Foodborne Bacteria Brochure: https://texas4-h.tamu.edu/wp-content/uploads/national_food_challenge_fight_back_brochure.pdf

Food and Kitchen Safety Fact Sheet: https://texas4-h.tamu.edu/wp-content/uploads/national_food_challenge_food_kitchen_safety_fact_sheet.pdf

Know Your Nutrients: https://texas4-h.tamu.edu/wp-content/uploads/national_food_challenge_know_your_nutrition.pdf

MyPlate Mini Poster: https://texas4-h.tamu.edu/wp-content/uploads/national_food_challenge_myplate_mini_poster.pdf

Helpful Resources to Prepare and Work With Youth for the 4-H Food Challenge:

Texas 4-H Food and Nutrition Resources: https://texas4-h.tamu.edu/projects/food-nutrition

4-H Cooking series from University of Illinois Extension: https://shop4-h.org/products/cooking-curriculum-101

What’s on Your Plate? series: https://shop4-h.org/collections/whats-on-your-plate-curriculum-series?utm_source=4-h_web&utm_medium=website&utm_campaign=Shop4H&utm_content=purchase_button&utm_term=curriculum_page&_ga=2.50449577.1681363109.1643138373-1461582538.1638897266

UF/IFAS Proper Handwashing for School Children: https://florida4h.ifas.ufl.edu/media/florida4hifasufledu/docs/project-files/healthy-living-project-pdf/Hand-Washing.pdf

Additional Resources Included in This Guide:

  • Florida 4-H Food Challenge Example Judging Questions
  • 4-H Food Challenge Supply Box

The following handouts are best viewed in the pdf version of this publication:

  • 4-H Food Challenge County Registration Form
  • 4-H Food Challenge Overall Score Tally Sheet
  • 4-H Food Challenge Scoresheets-
  • Food Preparation Scoresheet
  • Food Presentation Scoresheet
  • 4-H Food Challenge Team Worksheet
  • Sample 4-H Food Challenge Grocery Store Pricing
  • Sample 4-H Coins for Grocery Store Purchasing

Florida 4-H Food Challenge Example Judging Questions

Food Preparation Session

Example questions judge might ask during the food preparation session of the food challenge:

  • Can you tell me how to calibrate a food thermometer?
  • Can you explain cross contamination?
  • How did you become interested in cooking or this 4-H project?
  • What is one of your favorite cooking ingredients and why?
  • What is your recipe concept? (i.e., seasonal availability, dietary needs, personal preferences)
  • How does your recipe concept fit into the MyPlate?
  • Describe a culinary disaster you have experienced.

Food Presentation Session:

During this session, judges will ask two to three follow-up questions to what has been presented in the 5-minute team presentation. Questions are intended to allow for expansion of the information presented, or the questions could be specific and address any of the following:

  • MyPlate
  • FightBac
  • nutritional content of the dish prepared
  • preparation methods
  • obstacles the team had to overcome to prepare the recipe
  • an ingredient the team wished they could have added to enhance the recipe
  • an ingredient they wished they would have used differently in the recipe
  • an ingredient they wished they would have omitted from the recipe

Questions created by Marie Arick, UF/IFAS Extension Liberty County Extension Director 2022

Create some of your own questions.

Supply Box

Each team will bring an equipment box containing only one each of the following items unless a different quantity is noted below:

  • Beverage glass
  • Bowls (up to 4 of any size)
  • Calculator
  • Can Opener
  • Colander
  • Cutting Boards (up to 4)
  • Disposable tasting spoons (no limit)
  • Dry measuring cups (1 set)
  • Electric Skillet
  • Extension cord (multiple outlet or strip style)
    • Teams should be certain the extension cord is compatible (2-prong/3-prong) with the plugs on their electrical supplies.
  • First aid kit
  • Food thermometer
  • Fork
  • Gloves
  • Grater
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hot pads (up to 5)
  • Kitchen shears (1 pair)
  • Kitchen timer
  • Knives (up to 6)
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Manual pencil sharpener
  • Measuring spoons (1 set)
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Note cards (1 package - no larger than 5 X 7)
  • Paper towels (1 roll)
  • Pancake turner (up to 2)
  • Pencils (no limit)
  • Plastic box & trash bags for dirty equipment
  • Pot with lid
  • Potato masher
  • Potato peeler
  • Sanitizing wipes (1 container)
  • Serving dishes/utensils 1 plate/platter
  • 1 bowl
  • 1 utensil
  • Skewers (1 set)
  • Skillet with lid
  • Spatulas (up to 2)
  • Stirring spoon
  • Storage bags (1 box)
  • Tongs (up to 2)
  • Toothpicks (no limit)
  • Two single-burner hot plates or
  • One double-burner plate (electric only!)
  • Whisk

Pantry Items

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Oil (up to 17 oz)
  • 1 jar bouillon
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cans (up to 16 oz) vegetables and/or fruit - team choice
  • Rice (white or brown) or pasta (up to 16 oz) - team choice
4-H Pledge and Life Skills Wheel
Figure 1. 4-H Pledge and Life Skills Wheel
Credit:

 

Cover
Figure 2. Cover
Credit: UF/IFAS Communications
Peer Reviewed

Publication #4H442

Release Date:December 1st, 2023

Related Experts

Sachs, Geralyn M.

Specialist/SSA/RSA

University of Florida

Related Topics

Fact Sheet

About this Publication

This document is 4H442, one of a series of the Florida 4-H Youth Development Program, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date December 2023. Visit the EDIS website at https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu for the currently supported version of this publication.

About the Authors

Geralyn Sachs, regional specialized Extension agent III, M.S., 4-H Youth Development, UF/IFAS Extension Central District, St. Augustine, FL 32092.

Contacts

  • Geralyn Sachs
thumbnail for publication: Florida 4-H Food Challenge: Event Hosting Guide