Just Call Them Iron Chefs

Step aside, Rachael Ray. You’ve been replaced.

I tell ya, it’s a proud moment when you live in Austin and can officially call your boys foodies.

The boys have been studying and working hard for their 4-H Food & Nutrition project. They both competed in the county and district food show, as well as the food challenge competition. For food show, they had to select a recipe, cook it themselves, garnish it and then present the final creation to a panel of judges. In the interview, they’re asked about the nutritive value, food safety practices, cost, myPlate categories/servings and they have to demonstrate leadership, citizenship and knowledge throughout the duration of the project.

In other words, this ain’t no joke.

Food challenge works the exact same way, except think Iron Chef. The teams of 3-4 kids get ingredients and a hint and have 40 minutes to come up with a recipe, cook it, present it and know all the same things above. And, no moms and dads are allowed in the room.

As a 4-Her back in the day, all we had was the food show. But, even though some of the details have changed the guts of the program haven’t – just the delivery. Our club took eight kids to the district food show and five of them placed in the top three. I was such a proud momma bear of all eight. They worked SO hard and studied so diligently. I know these skills will be with them for a lifetime. And, we’ve had an absolute blast doing it all.

We’re looking forward to some great events the remainder of the year: cookie decorating, a behind-the-scenes tour of Whole Foods and some food etiquette lessons. I’m seriously having as much, if not more, fun as the kids.

For all my friends who think 4-H is just for the farm kids, think again. If you live in Austin and want to join in the fun, holla. If you live somewhere else, google 4-H in your county and get yourself involved. Not only are there amazing, crazy fun things to do, but there’s scholarship $$ on the line, too. If you can’t tell, I kinda {heart} 4-H.

Enough chatty, here’s your proof they are now officially cooking all the meals in the house. Not. Even. Kidding.

County Food Show
1st place Dairy (John Paul)
1st place Fruits & Vegetables (Will)

They also rocked the spooky desserts. Hat tip to TomKat Studio (Monster Cookies) and Kristen Duke (Bloody Brownies) for the inspiring recipes! Both are on my Pinterest page.

co food show_whitakers_021

spooky desserts

District Food Show
1st place Dairy (John Paul) & 2nd place F&V (Will)

district food show, john paul_02

Cheesy Vegetable Chowder
this online recipe calls for cubed cheese, but we used shredded cheddar

district food show, will_02

Cream Cheese-Spinach Quiche
this was the closet one I could find online; we used cream cheese and no garlic; Will even fashioned his own pie crust

Food Challenge: 1st place intermediate team
(two of the kids were juniors and played up, which makes me even MORE proud!)
They made chicken with couscous, garlic, spinach and tomatoes

food challenge_01

Any day now the Food Network will be calling. Until then, I’ll be on the couch while the boys whip up dinner.


  1. Debbie Farnum on November 20, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Oh, my goodness, I am so proud of Will and JP and all the kids in your 4-H club! All those years of watching you and Daniel learn and develop into accomplished 4-Hers has been paid back and then some. Busting my buttons for you, the kids, the adults, the extension agents, and especially, for Alby as she sees the continued fruits of her inspiration in generations to come….

  2. Jennifer on November 20, 2013 at 8:53 am

    So, what exactly is 4-H? What does it stand for? I could look it up, but I’m too lazy… and maybe there are others who are new to your blog who also want to know! 🙂

  3. Blair on November 20, 2013 at 9:10 am

    Congrats to your foodies! My girls both participated in the Food Challenge this year, and the older one’s team is advancing to district. They are having a lot of fun, although the weekly practices are wearing on this weary pregnant mama!

  4. Karen on November 20, 2013 at 10:56 am

    What an awesome experience! So I looked up 4-H in Los Angeles County and found… crickets… *sigh* 🙁 Congratulations to your boys and I love Will’s tie!

    • Kathryn on November 21, 2013 at 9:03 am
      • Karen on November 21, 2013 at 11:23 am

        Yes, LA is a humongous county and the LA Cty clubs are on the opposite sides from us. like 1-2 hours of driving without traffic. I am really interested though in the idea though. I can’t commit to starting something from scratch right now, I run a children’s ministry at church, am forming a breastfeeding support group, work part time, and just found out we are expecting #3!!!!!!!! But I think 4-H could have a lot of appeal in my area. We have a lot of hippie/”slow life down” types who are crazy into food and local food and getting kids to eat food. Might be just the sort of un-LA thing they are looking for! Thanks for the reply!

  5. Beth (A Mom's Life) on November 20, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Congratulations! And what a great learning experience for your kids!

  6. Connie on November 20, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Ship those boys up here to WF to cook for me any time! <3 Team Whitaker

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