Students put kitchen skills to work

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Essie Chafin, 10, center, plates potatoes, peppers and onions while cooking with her sisters Sophie Chafin, 9, right, and Lilly Chafin, 12, on Monday during the Farm to Fork 4-H Food Challenge at the Farmers Market in Rocky Mount.


Staff Writer

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Students in the Twin Counties were out of school Monday for President’s Day, but some of them still spent the day learning as part of the N.C. Cooperative Extension office’s Farm to Fork Challenge at the Farmer’s Market.

More than 20 students attended the event where they learned about food safety, using kitchen implements property and how to prepare tasty meals with ingredients from local farms. The event ran from noon to 6 p.m. and ended with a Mini-Chopped Challenge in which seven teams of three competed for the grand prize of nice sets of kitchen utensils for their own.

“We have had an event similar to this during summer camps before for Nash County and Edgecombe County, but this year we thought we would take advantage of the day off from school to host an event for students in both counties,” said Regina Mosely, family and consumer science agent for Nash and Edgecombe counties. 

During the Mini-Chopped Challenge, which was modeled somewhat on the “Chopped” reality show on the Food Network, teams of students from Nash and Edgecombe counties ranging in ages from 9-14 had to create their own recipes using goat sausage and eggs donated by Bearadise Farm as well as three other available ingredients such as peppers, onions and apples and a wide selection of spices that could be used freely.

As a result, the Farmer’s Market was filled with heady aromas Monday with the scent of sausage, onions, garlic and chili power most noticeable. The unique dishes ranged from Goat Sausage Omelets to Mexican Stir Fry. Some of the dishes looked delicious while others fell more into the ‘’adventurous” category. But all the teams looked as if they were having a great time.

“I love cooking and this is really exciting because we all get to work together,” said Ally Causey, 12, as she worked with her two friends and teammates on the Crazy Cooking Chicks team.

Makiya Smith, 13, who was on the Michael’s Angels team based in Edgecombe County, agreed.

“Working as a team and experiencing this together is the best part,” Smith said.

Before the Mini-Chopped Challenge began, students were instructed on knife skills and food safety and they were quizzed on these skills as they cooked. For some students, the knowledge they gained was the most important part.

“I learned a lot about how to use knives properly, which is good, because I am clumsy,” 12-year-old Caroline Williams said with a grin.

McRae Kiser, 9, said he liked learning about germs at the beginning of the demonstration. Mosely explained that the students learned about proper hand washing with glow germ soap that showed how germs are spread. Another experiment showed how quickly germs grow on food that is not stored properly. 

But most of the students focused on the cooking portion of the program.

“We get to cook, and that is something I don’t get to do much at home,” said Seth Peele, 10.