Top Cut: A Beef Contest
2020 winning schools and projects
New York Schools Win Fourth Annual Beef Competition
Garbage plates, beef tip crepes, and beef tongue tacos were just a few of the mouth-watering recipes developed, tested, and tasted in the fourth annual Top Cut Beef Contest for elementary, middle, and high school students. Despite navigating the balance of hybrid and virtual learning, twenty-seven schools were able to experience cooking beef and creating high-level, well developed marketing plans with a theme of global street food. New York Agriculture in the Classroom and the New York Beef Council are pleased to announce the winners of the Top Cut Beef Contest.
Students and teachers in grades three through twelve were exposed to beef production and nutrition by developing a marketing strategy for a food product of their choice and design. In this hands-on experience, students were exposed to the versatility of beef and safe food handling practices while also learning about the multitude of agricultural careers and skills it takes to develop and sell a product.
Due to the pandemic and uncertainty in scheduling faced by New York schools, this year's contest was designed differently than in previous competitions. Students, teachers, and parents were invited to attend multiple live and prerecorded events to learn about the broad array of professions involved in the beef industry. By designing the contest in this format, students were able to participate from home or from their classrooms. Participants were invited to "Hear it from the Pros" in a live video about the careers involved in the beef industry, virtually visited Lehning Farms, cooked along with Chef Cruz Nieves at Rella Rochester, and about marketing and branding from two experts. Students dived into food safety and honed their cooking skills with prerecorded videos made by the New York Beef Council.
Students created beef-centric recipes with a global street food theme. Students explored different cultures and flavor profiles while creating their beef product that could be sold at a market, on the street, or at a fair. Submissions included American, Mexican, Greek, French, and Native American inspired dishes. Students filmed their own commercials, drew logos, and designed websites to market their products.
The entries from across the state were judged by a panel of beef producers and industry experts. Each entry was evaluated on the product, market analysis, marketing plan, and the beef nutrition analysis. The first-place classroom in each division will receive $250 and a banner to display their achievement. Outstanding projects were also recognized with an additional $25 prize for achievements in the categories of "Most Entrepreneurial", "Most Creative", "Most Unique Recipe", and "Most Persuasive".
New York Agriculture in the Classroom and the New York Beef Council would like to thank Emma Loetterle of Shepard Settlement Farm, Suzy Strassburger Reidy of Strassburger Meat LLC, John and Peter Lehning of Lehning Farms, Chef Cruz Nieves of Rella, Sara Parody of BCA Architects & Engineers, and Ryan Gros of New York Beef Council for lending their expertise and providing quality content to make the fourth annual Top Cut Contest a success.