2022 Mac & Cheese Challenge Winners
New York Agriculture in the Classroom is excited to announce the winners of its first dairy innovation challenge.
In November, New York Agriculture in the Classroom (NYAITC) highlighted the New York state dairy industry by challenging students and educators from across the state to learn about the sector and diverse careers found within the industry while they created and marketed a unique macaroni and cheese dish. Nearly two hundred educators registered their students for the Mac and Cheese Challenge in four divisions: Primary (Pre-K-2), Intermediate (3-5), Middle School (6-8), and High School (9-12) to take on the innovative and entrepreneurial challenge.
To give participating students a real-world view of life in the dairy industry, NYAITC offered two virtual field trips. The first featured Sous Chef Kane Jilek, who is known for his award-winning macaroni and cheese dishes. Chef Jilek provided tips on recipe development, flavor profiles, and cooking techniques as he prepared one of his famous macaroni and cheese recipes. The second virtual field trip took students and educators on a tour of Tiashoke Farm, a working dairy farm, owned and operated by the Ziehm family. Dairy Farmer Jessica Ziehm gave classrooms a “behind the curtain” experience as she led students and teachers through the steps of milk production, described the dairy cow lifecycle, and highlighted the food and safety regulations followed by farmers and processors of dairy products.
To further support cooking and learning in the classroom, NYAITC sent participating classrooms boxes of macaroni and cheese to taste test or use as a base for their dish. The first 50 classrooms to register also received educational kits with spices, a few basic cooking supplies, and classroom educational materials. NYAITC offered classroom teachers the opportunity to be reimbursed for up to $50 worth of supplies needed for students to cook in the classroom.
Over 250 creative student recipes were submitted by students across New York state. The top three recipes in each grade division were selected by judges from the dairy industry and education sector. Each of these classrooms will receive a cheese making kit and educational materials valued at over $150. Monetary prizes of $250 for first place, $100 for second place, and $50 for third place were also awarded to support continued learning within the classroom. Additionally, Agri-Mark will be providing the first-place winner in each division a gift basket that includes some tasty dairy products.
The following classrooms were chosen as top in their division by judges for their innovative recipes and creative marketing.