The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services today announced that Tony Alvarez and Gianna Rivera of Bloomingdale High School in Hillsborough County are the 2018 “Fresh From Florida” Student Chef Cook-Off champions. Alvarez and Rivera competed against two other regional teams of two to four students from across the state. All three “Fresh From Florida” Student Chef Cook-Off teams will participate in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Taste of Florida Agriculture reception tonight in the Florida Capitol courtyard.
As the winning team, Alvarez and Rivera each earned a Florida Prepaid 529 Savings Plan and an apprenticeship with celebrity chef Art Smith, and their recipe will be made available for Florida school food service authorities to use in their cafeterias.
Alvarez and Rivera prepared their original T&G Burrito, which featured salsa made of Florida-grown vegetables. Student contestants had two hours to prepare four servings of their dishes to be judges on: taste, appearance, creativity, best and most use of local ingredients, best and most use of commodity items, school food service appropriateness and execution.
The “Fresh From Florida” Student Chef Cook-Off entry requirements include:
- Applicants must be a Florida student in 9th through 12th grade.
- The recipe must meet National School Lunch meal pattern and nutrition standards.
- The recipe must incorporate at least two Florida ingredients from the approved list.
- The recipe must incorporate at least one USDA commodity item from the approved list.
- The recipe must be prepared in less than two hours.
- The recipe must be replicable by school nutrition professionals.
Alvarez and Rivera and the other team finalists prepared their original dishes for a panel of judges, including: Chef Art Smith, Chef Bill Castleberry and Leon County School Food Service Procurement Supervisor Amy Hayden. Chef Art Smith has earned two James Beard awards, served as executive chef to Former governors Bob Graham and Jeb Bush, and spent 10 years as Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef. Chef Bill Castleberry has been a restauranteur, caterer and a culinary educator for the past 25 years. Amy Hayden has served in the school food service industry for 17 years.
For more information on the “Fresh From Florida” Student Chef Cook-Off, visit FreshFromFlorida.com/StudentCookOff.