The Georgia Department of Education held its third annual Shake it Up Farm-to-School Student Chef Competition Wednesday, March 20 in Macon. Floyd County’s Armuchee High School was one of nine state finalists that competed. Student teams prepared student-developed recipes featuring Georgia Grown ingredients. Judges for the competition were Chef Andy Anderson, Malissa Marsden from the American Egg Board and Mushroom Council, and Chef Morgan Dockery, Culinary Arts Area Manager from Houston County.

“Reaching the finals in this competition was no easy task,” said Laura Tanase, Health and Wellness Specialist for the Georgia Department of Education. “These teams had to develop recipes that included locally grown foods, fit within the current nutrient standards for school meals and could win over the judges with their presentation and great taste. We are so proud of all the participants and this year’s three winning teams. Every student involved did a wonderful job.”

Each team developed a nutritious, student-friendly recipe that included Georgia Grown foods and USDA Foods and could easily be incorporated into the school food service program. Recipes that reached the final competition were judged on overall appeal, appearance and execution, taste, presentation, and sanitation and food safety. Dr. Ellen Steinberg, GaDOE Food Safety Specialist, observed the team to ensure they followed key food safety guidelines and requirements. Chef Andy Anderson, Culinary Arts Program Manager at Helms College, assisted teams as they prepared their entries for judging.

The Armuchee High School team took seventh place for Zesty Ranch Chicken Wraps. Led by family and consumer sciences teacher Margaret Henderson, the team is composed of a pair of Armuchee High sophomores– Riley Buffington and Ivey O’Neal.

“The Student Chef Competition is a perfect example of the direction we’re moving in here in Georgia,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “We want to encourage learning that is out of the box, outside the status quo, and relevant to students’ lives and plans after high school. The Student Chef competition connects the school cafeteria with students’ learning, and gives kids a chance to gain hands-on experience that could lead to a future career.”

The recipe is described as a healthier twist on the traditional chicken wrap consisting of baked breaded chicken tenders in a whole grain wrap with light ranch dressing mixed with cilantro, lime juice, diced tomatoes, and shredded lettuce. Mozzarella cheese is sprinkled in for additional texture, protein, and flavor.

“We’re very excited to be well represented in the Student Chef competition for the second consecutive year,” said Donna Carver, Floyd County Schools Child Nutrition Director. “We’re delighted Ms. Henderson, Ivey, and Riley had the opportunity to experience this final round of the competition, and we look forward to featuring their wrap on next year’s lunch menu!”