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Riverton Students Compete for Top Chef

Riverton Students Compete for Top Chef

You may not know it, but we have a few “Top Chefs” in the Huntsville area! On October 14th Madison County’s Riverton Intermediate School awarded three of their 6th grade students the honor of Top Chef for creating delicious dishes from local produce.

The Top Chef competition is part of Farm Food Collaborative‘s (FFC) initiative to educate kids about fresh foods and to facilitate relationships between local growers and the school system. FFC is a healthy food program within the Food Bank of North Alabama.

Apples sourced from locally-owned Scott’s Orchard were the students’ main ingredient. Congratulations to the winners!

  • “MishMash Applesauce” won 3rd place and was created by Aydan Carmichael
  • 2nd place went to Wesley Stanley for “Cinnamon Apples”
  • 1st place winner was “Apple Surprise” by Andrew Hall
A Top Chef Seasonal Treat

Students were challenged to invent an apple-based recipe – from scratch – following the same nutritional guidelines as the cafeteria. Barbara Haugtvedt, Child Nutrition Program Supervisor for Madison County Schools, said they received over 50 competition entries before the 2015-2016 school year was over. Those were culled by judging ease of preparation, appearance and presentation, taste, and the big one: evaluating whether or not it would be acceptable to students because all the students would have a chance to taste the winning dish! So, not only did the entries have to meet specific criteria, they had to be something the kids would enjoy.

1st place winner Andrew Hall and his "Apple Surprise".
1st place winner Andrew Hall and his “Apple Surprise”.
A Great STEM Learning Opportunity

Teachers at Riverton elected to use this project as extra credit since creating and cooking a recipe is very much in line with STEAM principles.

Haugtvedt said, “Building a recipe involves a lot of different skills. There’s math, science, social studies, writing, research, and testing. Teachers were able to turn something fun into something educational.”

Some of the skills the students used in creating their recipes were:

  • Following criteria/guidelines
  • Researching food preparation methods and ingredients
  • Measuring ingredients
  • Calculating nutritional values (calories, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins and well as number of servings)
  • Writing detailed instructions
  • Deciding on a proper temperature (for a good outcome and food safety)
  • Marketing (naming their recipe)

“This was a fantastic way for kids to learn about fresh foods and the science and math that goes into creating a recipe, and to get them thinking about what they eat,” said Haugtvedt. “We’re hoping to implement this in more schools in the future.”

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For More Information

If you’d like to know more about the Farm Food Collaborative’s Top Chef program and find out about how to get it started in your child’s school, contact Carey Martin, Local Food Coordinator, Farm Food Collaborative (a program of the Food Bank of North Alabama), at 256-947-1003 or email

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