Coming in HOT! Results for the 2023 Dinah Gore 4-H Healthy Food Challenge

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Dinah Fore, 4-H Healthy Food Challenge

Cooked, cleaned, and everything in between, 4-H exhibitors battled to claim victory of the next best NC 4-H Jr. Chefs!

The 2023 Dinah Gore 4-H Healthy Food Challenge was held on May 20th in partnership with the annual Got to Be NC Festival at the NC State Fairgrounds. This contest challenges teams to prepare a meal given a ‘secret ingredient,’ food category, and items from a locally sourced pantry. With just forty minutes to spare, participants had to prepare their dish and a presentation on the nutritional benefit of their meal.

“The Dinah Gore 4-H Healthy Food Challenge has been a dream of many for the past few years, and watching it come true was nothing short of amazing” said Dr. Shannon McCollum, Youth Leadership Specialist with North Carolina 4-H and Committee Chair.

Tomatoes (8–10 year olds), goat cheese (11-13 year olds), and wagyu beef (14-18 year olds) were the secret ingredients that participants learned about only moments after the forty minute countdown begun. To accompany these ingredients, participants selected from a variety of local NC fruits, vegetables, spices, sauces, eggs, and much more. These items were donated by vendors participating in the Got to Be NC festival- as local & fresh as it gets!

We wanted to create a competition that would allow 4-H’ers to focus on healthy, local food choices and showcase their leadership skills by working together to create a nutritious meal. We have some very talented 4-H’ers who accepted the challenge, and all our teams did an outstanding job” shares Dr. Shannon McCollum. In addition to cash prizes, winners were gifted with an engraved cutting board symbolizing this year’s event.


8-10 Age Category:

Gold: Currituck County 4-H

  • Members: Ashlyn Ignatowicz, Sarah Schwartz, Kari Shago
  • Coach by Sherry Fischlschweiger

Silver: Johnston County Super Sprouts

  • Members: Maya Hutzel, Jacob Beach, Matthew Beach
  • Coached by Kelly Hutzel & Rachel Beach

Bronze: Orange County 4-H

  • Members: Aliana Hover, Carlene Grimaldo, Annelise Nagel
  • Coached by Morgana Hover

11-13 Age Category:

Gold: The 4-H Flavor Fighters (Lee County)

  • Members: Paisley Kitchens, Emily Hanna, Brayden Varner, Brayden Shuey
  • Coached by Ashley Szilvay and Pam Kerley

Silver: The Cookin’ Cheetahs (Johnston County)

  • Members: Arianna Hutzel, Rohaan Khan, Samuel Beach, Mihai Burstein
  • Coached by Kelly Hutzel and Rachel Beach

Bronze: Duplin County Space Pickles

  • Members: Calista Cruz, Blayton Moulton, Kale Oswald, Everett Ortiz
  • Coached by Brandy Moulton & Jessica Hicksted

14-18 Age Category:

Gold: Nash County Choppers

  • Members: Pranav Mettu, Ella Griffin, Amber Hardy, Galyce Ham
  • Coached by Regina Moseley, Sandy Hall, Brenda Wind, Chrisola Ham, and Angel Griffin

Silver: Edgecombe County 4-H

  • Members: Payden Kiser, Jolyna Sundbom, Logan Sundbom
  • Coached by Regina Moseley & Tanya Heath

Bronze: The Three Musketeer Chefs (Johnston County)

  • Members: Hannah Gay, Armaan Khan, Emily Beach
  • Coached by Kelly Hutzel and Rachel Beach

As a part of winning Gold in the 14-18 age division, the Nash County Choppers will advance to represent North Carolina 4-H in Texas at the National 4-H Food Challenge late fall.

It is with many thanks to the Dinah Gore 4-H Foods, Nutrition, Fitness and Etiquette Endowment for contributions made towards this project. Collaborative efforts of NC 4-H Youth Development, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP), and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services made this competition successful. “[NC 4-H] is excited about this competition and the partnership we have established going forward,” said McCollum.

Discover More

 Dinah Gore 4-H Healthy Food Challenge

-Written by Zachery Keeter