Regional 4-H Food Challenge Champions!

Over the past few months, AFAC’s Cooking and Nutrition Coordinator, Aisha Salazar, coached and taught classes on nutrition, cooking, and budgeting to a group of teens from the Bridges to Independence/4-H Youth Leadership Academy (b2i/4-H YLA). We are excited to report that the team won FIRST place in the 4-H Food Challenge regional challenge! As a result, they will compete at the state championship at Virginia 4-H State Congress in June! AFAC is very thankful for the support of the Kiwanis Club of Arlington, who provided the grant for these healthy cooking classes.

b2i/4-H YLA is a 4-H club consisting of 4-H members from Alexandria and Arlington and led by Reggie Morris, 4-H Youth Extension Agent. Four of those teens–Nya, Zyara, Leon, and Caitlyn–competed as “The Bridge Builders” team on Saturday, March 18th in the 4-H Food Challenge in Fauquier County. They competed against four other teams in their age group. Ten junior teams also competed.

In the challenge, teams had 40 minutes to prepare a dish using a surprise pantry of ingredients, determine the dish’s nutritional value, address food safety, determine the cost of one serving, and create a short presentation. They were then called in to present their dish to two judges and asked questions about their teamwork and their dish.

“The Bridge Builders” created a breakfast burrito with a side of yogurt topped with blueberries and apples and a glass of ‘agua fresca’ (water infused with apple). They explained which ingredients were part of the My Plate food groups, suggested ways to make the dish healthier (such as using turkey bacon or using healthier fats) and discussed food safety and cooking techniques, including parboiling their potatoes. The breakfast burrito consisted of a whole wheat tortilla, eggs, potatoes, cheese, tomatoes, and bacon drizzled with hot sauce. AFAC is proud of the team’s composure, teamwork, and knowledge throughout the competition. They were very creative and confident!

Thank you to Luke Clemmons from Bridges to Independence for providing transportation to the competition and to Reggie Morris, both of whom lead the club. Thank you to all the AFAC volunteers who worked with the teens during the past two years. AFAC will continue coaching the team until their competition in Blacksburg. In April, we will begin a series of classes with younger children at Bridges to Independence through the same grant.