Frequently Asked Questions
When and where is this event taking place?
The 6th Annual Jr Iron Chef VT competition is Saturday, February 2, 2013 from 9:00 am – 3:30 pm. The event will be held in the Blue Ribbon Pavilion at the Champlain Valley Exposition, Route 15, in Essex Junction, VT.
The event is open to the public and will feature fun activities for the whole family including chef demonstrations, food vendors, entertainment, and games throughout the day.
Who can participate?
Any VT student in grades 6-12 is eligible. Teams are broken down into Middle School (grades 6-8) and High School (9-12) categories. Each team must have between 3 and 5 members, from any grade level in the appropriate category. Teams may have an alternate student, but the total number of team members on the day of the competition may not exceed 5. NOTE: Alternate team members must also submit their contact information and permission slip. Click here
for more information about eligibility and competition rules.
How can I be involved with Jr Iron Chef VT?
If you are a student in grade 6-12, you can show off your cooking skills by competing
in Jr Iron Chef VT.
What are the awards and how are the dishes judged?
There will be two awards granted in each competition heat:
- Best in Show -- incorporates great colors, textures, and taste for a true crowd pleaser
- The Lively Local Award -- best highlights Vermont foods
All entries will be judged by the following criteria:
- Taste – kid friendly and flavorful
- Appearance – presentation on the plate
- Creativity – ingenuity of the ingredients used, how dish is prepared, how it is presented
- Best and Most Use of Local Ingredients – highlighting local and seasonal foods
- School Food Service Appropriate – time/cost affordability and nutrition level.
How do I register my team?
Team applications are available here
. Applications must include a $150 entry fee per team and completed Parental Release Form for each student participant. Final application deadline is October 26, 2012, although spaces are limited so teams are encouraged to sign up ASAP.
What are the registration fees?
There is a $150 entry fee per team. Registration fees help cover the costs hosting of Jr Iron Chef VT. Teams are encouraged to seek local sponsors to support all expenses associated with participation including entry fee, cost of ingredients, etc.
OK, we're registered...now what?
Once you have submitted your application, you have two weeks to send in your $150 entry fee and signed Permission and Release Forms for each team member. These materials must be postmarked within two weeks or else your team application will be cancelled.
The next step is to develop your winning recipe. Final recipes must be submitted by December 1, 2012
. Until then, you can use the recipe template on your team home page
to develop different recipes with your team mates. On your homepage you can also update your team member profiles and post messages to one another.
What if there are too many applications?
Jr Iron Chef VT will hold a number of team slots for each county until October 15, 2012. This number is determined by the number of schools in each county. Starting October 16 teams will be accepted on a first come first serve basis until 40 teams have been accepted for each heat (morning and afternoon).
Once a heat is full, applications will be put on a waiting list in the order they were received. Waitlisted teams will be notified if openings become available.
I want to ask a local business to sponsor my team, how can I do that?
Teams are welcome to find local businesses and organizations to sponsor their participation costs ($150 entry fee, cost of ingredients, etc). Here are four steps to keep in mind when searching for a team sponsor:
- Think of some of your favorite businesses, such as restaurants where you like to eat, movie stores/theaters, or stores where you like to shop.
- Write a letter to these businesses explaining what Jr Iron Chef VT is, why you want to participate, and how the business could help sponsor your team. Make sure you include your contact information and how much money you are asking from the business.
- Follow-up the letter with a phone call or a visit.
- Don't forget to send your sponsoring businesses thank you notes. They would love to see pictures of you and your team at the competition and hear about the dishes you prepared.
How can my team find a chef to work with?
Including a professional chef on your team can help in a lot of ways. First, your chef probably has some great ideas for recipes using local ingredients, plus s/he can help you make sure your dishes come out just like you hope. Also, getting to know a chef can be a fun way to connect with a local restaurant. So, where can you find a chef to join your team?
- Think about what your favorite restaurants are; do they have a chef who could help?
- If you don’t have a favorite restaurant, you might find a restaurant that is a member of the Vermont Fresh Network (VFN). To be part of the Vermont Fresh Network, chefs promise to buy ingredients from local farmers. That is a bonus to your team since these are chefs already committed to using local ingredients. You can find the list of VFN restaurants at www.vermontfresh.net
- You can also consider asking one of the cooks from your school cafeteria if they could help you. They know a lot about cooking food that kids love and might have some secret recipes that are sure to win the competition.
- Once you have found chefs that you are interested in, you should write them a letter or call them on the phone that explains what Jr. Iron Chef VT is and why you want their help. If you are calling avoid calling right at lunch or dinner time when the chefs are super busy.
What do we need to bring with us and what will be provided?
Read the Jr Iron Chef VT rules
for a complete list of equipment you will need to bring.
How much time do teams have to cook?
Teams have 1.5 hours to cook and 1 hour to clean up. Remember, you may not bring any prepared foods to the competition and must perform all food preparation at the event.
Can our adult/chaperone help us cook?
No Team Coaches or Supervisors may help cook at the competition. However, these adults may provide hands-off guidance and advice.
Is it okay if we don't use at least 5 of the local products provided by Jr Iron Chef VT?
NO. All competing recipes must include at least 5 ingredients from the local foods list
. These ingredients will be provided by Jr Iron Chef VT and will be waiting for you when you get to the competition. You are encouraged to consider using more than 5 local ingredients.
What other ingredients are we allowed to use?
Your team may bring and use any non-meat ingredients that can easily be integrated into school food service programs. This includes most basic pantry items including, bread, tortillas, rice, pasta, vegetable broth, etc. These ingredients must come to the competition in their raw state. Remember, your team may not do any preparation of ingredients before the event; anything your team makes from scratch needs to be made during the competition.
How are the recipes reviewed?
Once you have submitted your final recipe (no later than December 1, 2012) the Jr Iron Chef VT Recipe Committee will review your recipe for school food service replicability and presence of at least 5 local ingredients
If your recipe does not meet the criteria
outlined, we will contact you and request that you make changes.
We request recipes to confirm compliance with Jr Iron Chef VT rules
including food safety requirements, presence of local ingredients, compliance with School Food Service criteria, etc
. The submitted recipes also confirm the quantities of the local product that we will provide your team.
How many servings should my team make?
Your recipe should make 6 x 8 oz. servings.
Two of your servings will be plated as demonstration plates. One of these will be sent to the judges to see how the plated dish looks, and one will be put on display for attendees to see.
The remaining four servings need to be split into 16 x 2 oz. servings. These are the servings that the judges will taste.
Jr Iron Chef VT will provide plates and tasting materials; your team should not bring plates to serve your food.
If you have additional questions, contact us at: