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The Valley Reporter
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Harwood teams compete in fourth annual Jr. Iron Chef


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“Highlander Chefs” Stephen Guion, Maya Cormier, Stephen Guion, Becca Hammel, Katie Robinson and Megan Scribner created what they nicknamed the “underground breakfast pizza” for judges at the fourth annual Jr. Iron Chef competition last weekend.


A total of four teams of middle and high school students from Harwood Union prepared for weeks leading up to the competition held at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex last Saturday, March 26.

The competition was hosted by the Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED) and the Burlington School Food Project; teams are challenged to create the best school food dish featuring local ingredients.

Middle school students Maddie Baughman, Kianna Haskin, Kaleigh Hamel, Nicholas Bartlett, Emeric Rochford, Borja Ferreras, Seethepali, Parker Sheinfeld, Connor Delaney and Ben Friedman competed in last Saturday’s event. 

The first Harwood middle school team prepared Peruvian style potatoes, the second HU middle school team made apple and cheddar crepes and the third HU middle school team submitted tomato and cornmeal dumplings.

Guion said that his team, the “Highlander Chefs,” concocted a “Vermonte Cristo” which consisted of French toast with eggs and root vegetables mixed in.

“We’re here because we love cooking and we’re awesome,” Guion said at the competition. This is his fourth year entering the competition.

One member of a middle school team said, “We did Peruvian-style potatoes which is a really good dish with eggs and potatoes and eggs; originally making the potatoes took two hours, but then this really awesome guy told us to hard boil them to cut the time.”

When asked why they were participating, he continued, “We just thought it would be fun way to help the Localvores and cook a really good meal for the judges.”

Harwood Union family and consumer sciences (FACS) teacher and coordinator Mary Holden said students started picking teams in the fall and started developing recipes after the first of the year.

“We had a wonderful time; we didn’t win anything but it’s the pride that you get for participating in the event that matters,” she said.

Holden said many of the students were “surprised they could make something yummy out of vegetables, for one thing.”

Jr. Iron Chef VT celebrates Farm to School by asking students to create dishes from Vermont ingredients in just 90 minutes. Over a thousand parents, siblings, classmates, farmers, teachers and community members filled the expo to witness the event.

In each competition prizes were awarded in three categories: Best in Show, Most Creative Dish, and Greatest Number and Best Use of Local Ingredients.

Winning teams are invited to the Vermont State House on April 6to be honored with a Legislative Resolution. They will cook taste tests for the legislators to try at lunch time and tour the Capitol.

For more information about Jr. Iron Chef or to view a full list of this year’s winners, visit






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