—Chairman Kaga, original Iron Chef host
Wellness initiatives! They’re everywhere in our district!
Again this year, Colchester Middle School will send a team of creative culinary artists to the Jr. Iron Chef Vermont event at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction to compete with other middle school teams from across the state. The sixth-annual event will take place on February 2.
Loosely based upon the original Iron Chef 料理の鉄人 Japanese television cooking show, Jr. Iron Chef Vermont teams have very specific requirements for the competition and have only ninety minutes in which to prepare their creations for the judges. Teams cannot use any electric heating tool—including toaster ovens, hot plates, Crockpots/slow cookers, electric griddles, microwaves, and the like—in the preparation of their dishes. All entries—which be made into exact serving sizes—must also include a minimum of five seasonal Vermont ingredients; cannot contain nuts, meats, poultry, or fish; cannot be a dessert; and water is not provided.
Submissions—the recipes for which must be submitted and approved in advance and cannot be modified before the competition—will be judged on taste, presentation, creativity, best use of local ingredients, and level of appropriateness for replication in school cafeterias. The CMS Cougars’ submission—Vegetable Samosas with Beet Dip—has been heralded by Chef Curtiss Hemm in his blog Pink Ribbon Cooking. Chef Hemm has adapted the Cougars’ recipe for breast cancer patients. (How’s that for an accolade!)
Jr. Iron Chef Vermont is a statewide competition for students that is designed to provide hands-on experience preparing nutritious foods, and it is hosted by the Burlington School Food Project and Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED)—itself a farm-to-school program run in partnership with Food Works at Two Rivers Center, the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, and Shelburne Farms. Jr. Iron Chef Vermont serves not only as a fun-filled and educational competition but also as a fundraiser for these Vermont farm-to-school programs; all of its proceeds directly support VT FEED’s programs. It also empowers students to collaborate with teachers, food service professionals, and local farmers to address the challenges of procuring nutritious food for our schools while simultaneously promoting lifelong healthy eating habits. It is an important wellness initiative … and wellness is supported by our community in the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017.
Come one, come all to the Champlain Valley Exposition to support our students! The event runs from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is $3 per individual or $5 per family.
Good luck, CMS Cougars!
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