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North Carolina Jr. Chef Competition

The North Carolina Junior Chef Competition (NCJCC) was created to inspire the next generation of culinary professionals, stimulate interest in locally produced agriculture, increase participation in School Nutrition Programs, and encourage healthy eating habits.  The competition seeks student created and approved recipes for school meals. Additionally, this competition will recognize students for their ability to work as members of a team to demonstrate valuable skills in recipe development, food preparation, marketing, public presentation, organization, and local food systems.

The NCJCC consists of two parts; the recipe contest and the recipe cook-off.  Details for each part are as follows:

1.  Recipe Contest

Student teams must develop a recipe for a school lunch entrée (that meets the guidelines) to submit for the NCJCC recipe contest. 

Student teams are encouraged to work with their FACS teachers/FCCLA advisers and local School Nutrition Programs to develop creative entrée recipes for school lunch that:

      • meet the National School Lunch Program meal pattern and nutrition standards
      • include at least one (1) USDA Foods item and two (2) North Carolina grown products, and are replicable by School Nutrition professionals.  

2.  Recipe Cook-off

During the NCJCC cook-off, finalist teams must prepare, cook and plate their recipe and present two (2) plates of their prepared recipe to judges.

How to participate in the competition?  Who is eligible?
Teams of 2-4 high school students (grades 10-12) currently enrolled in NC Career and Technical Education Food, Nutrition, and Culinary Arts courses can participate in the NCJCC. 

Important DatesAction Step
Today Review the NCJCC guidelines and plan to participate.
January 24 CLICK HERE  to access the recorded webinar.
February 9 Submit an Intent to Compete form for your team if interested in participating.
February 28 Submit a completed NC Jr. Chef Competition Application (Excel) (including Recipe), Photo of the Dish, and Parental Permission and Release  (Word) forms for each team member .
March 2 Look for a notification by email to see if your team has been selected as a finalist.
April 9 If you are one of the 8 finalist teams, participate in a cook-off in Greensboro. The winning team will be announced during the opening session of the NC FCCLA Annual Conference.
May 9-10 The North Carolina Jr. Chef Competition winning team advances to compete in the Southeast Jr. Chef Competition at Sullivan University in Kentucky.


USDA Food Composition Database 

USDA Food Buying Guide  

USDA Foods List

Have Questions? Need Assistance? 
For questions about the North Carolina Junior Chef Competition, contact Tracey Bates, School Nutrition Specialist at

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