Top Cut: A Beef Contest
2022 Winning Schools and Projects
New York Schools Win Sixth Annual Beef Competition
Students put their cooking skills and creativity to the test in the sixth annual Top Cut Beef Contest this fall. This year sixty-eight classrooms competed to develop a beef product of their choice that could be found in their school cafeteria, while also working with their school's food service personnel to identify the process of procuring, preparing, and providing a balanced school lunch. New York Agriculture in the Classroom and the New York Beef Council were overwhelmed by the quality and ingenuity put into each submission and would like to extend sincere congratulations to all participants of the Top Cut Beef Contest.
Students and teachers in grades three through twelve were exposed to beef production and nutrition by developing a recipe and 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 a recipe.
Students created beef-centric recipes that their fellow students might enjoy from the school cafeteria. They were challenged to work with their school’s food service teams to learn about how schools procure their food, the budget limitations that exist, and the nutritional requirements that should be followed. Students filmed their own commercials, drew logos, and wrote morning announcements to market their products.
To add context and provide students with the necessary information for the contest, classrooms were invited to attend a live Virtual Field Trip where they cooked along with chef Alex Reitz, Manager of the Beef Culinary Center at National Cattlemen's Beef Association. While cooking "Kings Hawaiian & Grillo's Pickles Beef & Queso Sliders" chef Alex discussed the recipe development process, demonstrated how different flavors mix together, and dove into food safety practices.
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, second place earns $100, third place earns $50, and all receive a banner to display their achievement. The first-place schools will also receive a barbeque grill for their classroom from the New York Beef Council.