Given a clue, a four-member Smith County 4-H team will use a kit of cooking utensils and ingredients laid out before them to make up their own recipe and prepare a dish in the District 5 Food and Nutrition Extravaganza on Saturday.
The team has entered the food challenge category of the regional contest at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches for 4-H, a youth development organization.
It is expected to draw youngsters from 22 counties to compete for medals and ribbons and the opportunity to participate in the state round-up in June.
Zachary Walker, 18, a senior at Winona High School and a member of Smith County’s team, said he will compete Saturday because he likes to cook and it will be “a nice challenge to just get random ingredients and make something great out of it.”
Amber McGuire, 17, a homeschooled 11th-grader from Bullard, said the contest “seems interesting and I’ve never done it before, so I just figured I’d challenge myself and try it.”
Her brother, Adam McGuire, 14, said the contest sounds like fun and he expects to gain experience and maybe team-building skills.
The other member of the Smith County team, Nathan Mbariket, 17, a Winona High School junior, said, “I love to cook and experiment. I want to be a chef when I grow up.”
The team will have 45 minutes to come up with their recipe and prepare it.
Then, team members will have to present their food before a judge and take turns telling how they prepared the dish, analyze the cost per serving and cost per dish, estimate the number of servings and determine the nutrients in the dish and explain how they affect the body.
“We want these kids to learn how to prepare healthy food in a safe manner and know what they are eating and what it costs,” Sarah Bolt, Smith County 4-H agent for Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service, said.
“We want them to get team-building skills and public-speaking skills,” she added. “They are learning to present something to a judge. That’s a big challenge.”
Also competing in the extravaganza from Smith County will be Stoker Williams, 17, of Arp, who has entered the agricultural products identification category of the contest.