Calling all aspiring young chefs! If you’d like to get together a group of friends to enter the first-ever seafood cooking competition at John’s Pass Seafood Festival, you can enter a one-day cooking challenge to be the top Junior Chef in Florida and win amazing prizes. The winning recipes will be shared with all affiliations in the hospitality industry, including restaurants, hotels, Chambers of Commerce and Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, Visit Florida and Florida Lodging & Restaurants.
There will be separate competitions for Middle School (6th to 8th graders) and High School (9th to 12th graders) teams of 3 to 5 members from throughout the state. Each team must have an adult supervisor, and those who must travel longer distances will be eligible for travel reimbursement up to $300 (based on mileage). Information has been sent to schools with culinary programs across the state. Deadline for Junior Chef Contest entries is September 1.
The competition will start with a recipe contest with a deadline of September 1. Teams will submit a team application and recipe entry form for their entry of a delicious, creative seafood entrée. Up to eight finalist teams in each age group will be selected to have a chance to prepare their special seafood entree at the John’s Pass Seafood Festival in Madeira Beach on Thursday, Oct. 27. The finalist teams will prepare their meals, along with a Marketing Flyer to present with their meals at the cook-off event. This year’s John’s Pass Seafood Festival will begin October 27 and continue through October 30.
An expert panel will judge the entries on the basis of taste, presentation, creativity, use of local Seafood, use of USDA ingredients and healthy choices (based on the calorie count of the recipe and the healthfulness of the ingredients). All team members will receive prizes, with special prizes for the top three winning teams and their schools.
Awards will be given in four categories for the winning Junior High and High School teams. A Judges’ Choice award will go to the team that best incorporates color, texture and taste for a true judge-pleaser. The Lively Local award will go to the team that best highlights Florida Fresh Foods. Mise en Place (everything in its place) will be awarded to the team that shows exemplary teamwork, order and professionalism, both during the competition itself and in the registration process. And the Public Presentation award will go to the team with the best poster/marketing flyer/information display and judge presentation.
Contest rules and regulations have been reviewed by committee Ryan Wells Foundation and Pinellas County schools to make sure the event follows competition guidelines. All rules and information will be available at www.johnpassseafoodfestival.com.
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