On Friday, April 6, four Story County schools gathered for a culinary arts expo at the DMACC Hunziker Center in Ames. Participating schools included Ames High School, Colo-NESCO High School, Nevada High School and Roland-Story High School. Students participated in a “CHOPPED” competition using the mystery ingredients of turkey tenderloins, strawberries, zucchini and Sour Patch strawberry candies.


During this competition, students applied skills and knowledge learned in their family and consumer sciences classes to create an entrée using the required “mystery” ingredients—students did not know what ingredients they had to incorporate until competition time! Students had 40 minutes to prepare their entrée, all while being evaluated on teamwork, safety and sanitation; food preparation skills and presentation of food.


The judges for this competition were Executive Chef Robert Bruno from the Iowa Stater restaurant at the Gateway Hotel, Chef/Owner Evie Peterson from Farmhouse Catering in Nevada and Director of Member Services Sheila Larson from the Iowa Turkey Federation. The Iowa Turkey Federation graciously donated the turkey tenderloins that were used in the competition.


In addition to students showcasing their skills and knowledge, students had opportunities to learn new skills and be exposed to career opportunities. Students learned knife and cake-decorating skills from Iowa Central Community College Culinary Arts instructors Chef Michael and Chef Christina. Lauren Grant of Zestful Kitchen shared how entrepreneurship and blogging can develop into a creative career in the food world, including a hands-on activity that challenged students to create a brand partnership proposal. Iowa State University Food Science and Human Nutrition department staff exposed students to sensory evaluation and careers in food science through experiments that provided opportunities analyze foods using the five senses.


This event was organized by the Family and Consumer Sciences teachers from the four participating schools in partnership with DMACC and support from John Kinley, Story County CTE Consortium director. Family and consumer sciences coursework is a part of Career and Technical Education (CTE). Career and Technical Education prepares students for a wide range of high-wage, high-skill and high-demand careers by integrating core academic skills with employability and technical skills.