4-H culinary contest returns to the Nebraska State Fair for a 10th year

Local4 News at Five Sunday
Published: Aug. 28, 2022 at 11:32 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The 4-H culinary contest returned for its 10th year at the Nebraska State Fair. This time, contestants were instructed to use wheat as a featured ingredient.

It had to be used in a way that made the product the top ingredient of their dish. Contestants also needed to have complete knowledge of the meal.

Teams were required to provide a full breakdown of their dish, ranging from nutrition facts, of the cost of making their dish and also the time it took to prepare it.

“We used white wheat and a little bit of whole wheat in our ingredient just so it would have some of that whole wheat flour because you get more health benefits from it and everything,” said Michelle Henkel, culinary contest participant. “We had brisket as our main dish and then we put the thousand bun for our brisket mainly.”

Henkel is a eight year veteran in the competition and said she enjoyed the challenge of making a dish based from wheat. She also shared with Local4 News her concerns of the future of 4-H and its lack of youth in the program.

“It needs more representation in the county levels,” Henkel said. “Get more kids interested in it because we’ve been competing against the same people all through the years. It’s really fun to see the younger kids getting involved in it because it’s a big part of my 4-H journey. I think it’s a great project for kids to get use to the technology, cooking and knowing how to do a table setting.”

She also detailed how most 4-H clubs don’t have a culinary competition at the local level.

“Our county, personally, has wanted to do a workshop with it,” she noted. “Just getting that planned out and to show it’s a fun project to be apart of and keep the younger kids more interested in it.”

Henkel suggested that counties should conduct workshops to introduce the youth to the programs it has offer to ultimately increase interest in those age groups.