The Mountain Times

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6th Annual Jr. Iron Chef VT: A statewide youth culinary competition

Stockbridge Central School wins Lively Local Award for Middle School division

On Saturday, Feb. 2, 330 middle and high school students from across Vermont gathered at the Champlain Valley Expo Center to participate in the 6th Annual Jr Iron Chef VT competition. Teams had 90 minutes to wow a diverse panel of expert judges, including James Beard, award-winning author Rowan Jacobsen and school chef Meggen Hanna. The students were challenged to create original recipes that featured local ingredients, and could be replicated on the school lunch line.

Over 1,000 spectators cheered on their local teams, participated in fun activities, and enjoyed live music and dance from Vermont youth groups, Diversity Rocks! and Sweet Transition.

"Jr Iron Chef VT and the Vermont Farm to School movement are models that I am proud to recommend to the whole country," said Senator Patrick Leahy of the event.

The culinary challenge began back in September, when 74 teams from more than 55 schools got to work creating original recipes, learning basic cooking techniques, and developing new relationships with local chefs and farmers. "We are constantly impressed with the efforts of the hundreds of students and community volunteers from all over our state that make Jr Iron Chef such a success," said event organizer, Libby McDonald. "We could not be more excited to celebrate Vermont's Farm to School movement with this incredibly joyful group of leaders."

Awards were given for "Best in Show," honoring the recipes that incorporated great colors, textures, and taste - a true crowd pleaser. The "Lively Local Award" was given for recipes that best highlight Vermont foods.
Prizes were awarded for both morning and afternoon heats for both middle and high school teams.

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Jr. Iron Chef Winners

Morning heat winners
Best in Show: Middle School - The Dipsters, Twin Valley Union Middle School
Best in Show: High School - Rebel Chefs, South Burlington High School
The Lively Local Award: Middle School - Stockbridge Salmon, Stockbridge Central School
The Lively Local Award: High School - Royal Chefs, South Royalton School

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Afternoon heat winners
Best in Show: Middle School - Charlotte Chefs, Charlotte Central School
Best in Show: High School - J-Lee Quinwonkers, Twin Valley Union High School
The Lively Local Award: Middle School - The Cougars, Crosset Brook Middle School
The Lively Local Award: High School - Zeman's Zing Zangs, Twin Valley Union High School

Jr Iron Chef VT is a collaborative project of two leaders in the Farm to School movement, the Burlington School Food Project and VT-FEED. For more information and winning recipes, see