Cook-Off Contest Goes Beyond The Kitchen

NJAS participants learn to educate consumers about beef through Cook-Off.

From Pepsi® served over beef, to cocoa powder-crusted strip steaks, the 28th annual All-American Certified Angus Beef® (CAB) Cook-Off had something for everyone. The American Angus Auxiliary-sponsored event took place July 12 during the 2011 National Junior Angus Show (NJAS) in Harrisburg, Pa.

Twenty-five teams from 15 states used unique recipes and educational skits to compete in the Cook-Off while promoting the CAB brand. Cook-Off co-chair Anne Patton Schubert, Taylorsville, Ky., says the competition gives youth confidence to promote the CAB product.

The Cook-Off allows youth to build leadership and teamwork skills in a fun, entertaining environment, Schubert says. It also helps prepare youth to answer basic questions consumers may have about beef and the CAB brand.

“Consumers want to know where their food comes from, and the Cook-Off gives beef a very personal feeling,” Schubert says. “With this day and age of fast-food and quick products, people do not understand basic knowledge juniors know just by growing up around Angus cattle.”

CAB Chef Michael Ollier says the Cook-Off competition serves an important role in a society interested in where their food comes from.

“America needs to get back to the dinner table and what better way than to teach youth the skills to cook and promote healthy eating,” Ollier says

Contestants competed in one of three categories: roast, steak or other beef items. The categories were also broken into age divisions – junior, ages 9-13; intermediate, ages 14-17; and senior, ages 18-21.

Within each category and age division, winners were selected in showmanship and recipe. Showmanship criteria are based on presentation, costumes and skit creativity. The recipe is evaluated on taste and ease of preparation.

An overall winner, including all age divisions, is selected in each category. The highest honor, the Black Kettle Award, is presented to the highest scoring team among all meat and age divisions. The award was established in memory of Paul St. Blanc, a supporter and long-time friend of the Cook-Off.

Black Kettle Award

The senior team from Louisiana earned the Black Kettle Award by stunning the Cook-Off judges with original lyrics to complement a patriotic-themed musical.

The musical was based on a sailor returning from war and talking about his CAB knowledge. The team claimed first place in the showmanship and recipe categories, and was the overall steak division winner.

Team members included: Taylor Arnoville, Bordelonville, La.; Daniel McFarland, Keithville, La.; Jarred Yantis, Bunkie, La.; and Samantha Yantis, Bunkie, La.

Participating in the Cook-Off taught McFarland general facts about CAB products and also spurred him to look at expected progeny differences (EPDs) and pedigrees to improve meat quality in his family’s herd.

“Knowledge can make a huge impact on the success of a herd,” McFarland says.

Chef’s Challenge

National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) member, Katy Satree, Montague, Texas, wanted to concentrate more on the process of cooking; therefore, Satree entered the Chef’s Challenge.

The Chef’s Challenge is hosted in conjunction with the Cook-Off, and modeled after Food Network’s cooking competition “Iron Chef.” It features two age divisions: adults 21 and older; and NJAA members, ages 18 to 21.

The contestants had 90 minutes to prepare and serve an original recipe using a specific CAB meat cut — skirt steak — and secret ingredients announced the day prior to competition. Adult division secret ingredients were blackberries and corn meal. Junior division ingredients included leeks and eggs.

Satree, the junior division winner, said she enjoyed the challenge because it allowed her to explore her creative side.

“Cooking is my favorite thing to do, and I never know when inspiration is going to hit,” Satree says. “The Chef’s Challenge was a way for me to promote the CAB product with a hands-on project.”

Satree prepared for the competition by cooking each type of meat cut and having general recipe ideas. Satree won honors with her original recipe, “Fiesta Fajita Salad.”

Following Satree in the Chef’s Challenge junior division was second-place team, Jessica Clarke, Rocky Ridge, Md., and Ethan Whiteside, Queenstown, Md.

Winners in the adult division were: Lorelei Irons, Laytonsville, Md., first place; Rachel and Gretchen Frost, Tallula, Ill., second place; and Morgan Smith, Douglas, Ga. and Tammy Williams, Milan, Ga., third place.

Visit www.angus.org for more information, including videos, show results and photos. Coverage is also available on the National Junior Angus Association Facebook fan page. Backdrop and candid photos are available for purchase at www.angus.digitaleventsonline.com.

For More Information Contact:

Crystal Albers at (816) 383-5134 or calbers@angus.org

Carrie Gilliam, public relations and communications intern, at 816-383-5100 or printern@angus.org

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