The Big E can be a transformational educational experience for youth involved in 4-H and/or the National FFA Organization. Learn more about the event in personal testimonials and impact statements in this video!
Connecticut 4-H dairy members entered the Grilled Cheese Competition at the Big E in mid-September and won the top award against teams of 4-H members from across New England. Connecticut 4-H, which is part of UConn Extension, had two teams entered. The winning team consisted of Mikayla Durant, Victoria Footit, and Melanie Trotochaud. Mikayla and Victoria are from New Haven County, and Melanie is from New London County.
A second Connecticut 4-H team also entered the competition, and placed fourth overall. The team included Makena Shea, Haley Desaulniers, and Conor Smith. All three are members of the Hartford County 4-H program.
The Grilled Cheese Competition is an interactive and fun learning experience in food preparation and food safety that also promotes teamwork and public relations for 4-H members.
Teams consist of three 4-H youth members, who bring their own recipe and supplies to the competition. Youth have a 15-minute grilling heat to prepare sandwiches for the judges. Sandwiches are presented to each judge, and 4-H members explain their dish and answer questions. Teams are judged on food handling and safety, taste, group presentation to the judges, teamwork, cleanliness, and creativity.
The winning team worked with many partners on their way to victory. UConn Chef Robert Landolphi worked with the 4-H members to pair cinnamon swirl bread from the UConn Bakery with fresh peaches and Camembert cheese from Arethusa Farm in Litchfield. The grilled cheese was served with a side of maple syrup produced at Staebner’s Blue Slope Farm in Franklin for dipping.
A group of cheese and artesian food professionals judged, and Jason Sobocinski from Caseus (Fromagerie Bistro, Food Truck) in New Haven put his Cooking Channel experience to use and served as guest host.
4-H volunteers Tina Trotochaud and Kirsten Kruger worked with the Connecticut 4-H teams. For more information on UConn Extension’s 4-H program, please visit http://www.4-h.uconn.edu or call 1-888-FOUR-H-CT.
By: Stacey Stearns