The Fort Payne High School Culinary team placed first in the Alabama Junior Chef Competition last Friday in Montgomery.

The team competed against teams from across the state and was judged on taste, appearance, creativity, best and most use of local ingredients, best and most used USDA Commodity foods, school nutrition program appropriate, food safety and execution.

The four-member team consists of Avery Payton (senior), Lauren Gonzalez (sophomore), Liliana Francisco (sophomore) and Jovany Rocha (sophomore).

Fort Payne High School Culinary Arts Instructor and team representative, Cheri Williams said the team won first place and will travel to the Southeast Region Junior Chef Competition at Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky in May.

Winners of the state completion who travel to Sullivan University will compete for the chance to win the following scholarships provided by the university:

•1st Place - $16,000 to each student on the team

•2nd Place - $10,000 to each student on the team

•3rd Place - $6,000 to each student on the team

According to the Alabama Child Nutrition School Programs staff, their goal is to inspire students to be involved in the creation of healthier eating habits that will improve their health now and in the future.

In addition, they aim to provide nutrition education, stimulated interest in both locally produced agriculture and Child Nutrition Programs that would ultimately increase the consumption of healthier products offered in school meals.

The annual Alabama Junior Chef Competition is designed to encourage students to be engaged while providing them with an opportunity to demonstrate their culinary skills.

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