High School Cook-Off!

High School Cook-Off | RachelCooks.com

You guys.

I just can’t keep quiet any more. I am so excited about this project I have been working on.

As some of you know, my husband is an assistant principal at a very large, urban high school right outside of Detroit, Michigan. One of the courses offered there is called “Food For Life.”

Food For Life is a basic food and nutrition class for high school students.  The students learn all the skills needed to prepare basic recipes from scratch.  Creativity is encouraged as they advance to more difficult recipes.  Alterations to recipes to suit their own tastes are eventually encouraged. Students also assess their own diets as they learn how to make and prepare healthier food choices utilizing the new MyPyramid.

My husband, the teacher of the class and I are creating an exciting cooking competition.

Here are some details:

The students will be making PIZZA! The possibilities here are endless. They will work in groups of 6 to create unique pizzas from scratch including the dough and sauce. Once they have completed their pizzas, there will be an in-class vote. Pizzas will be judged by staff members based on taste, creativity and appearance.  The top two pizzas from each class will be photographed by photography students at the high school. (This is happening today!)

Eight pizzas will advance to be posted here next week Wednesday to be publicly voted upon for two weeks. So show up here next week and vote (there are perks for you, too–I’ll get to that in a sec.).

Can we talk about why I am so stinking excited about this? I just think this is such a great way to support these kids.  The teacher reports that many of these students do not even have measuring spoons at home! This is a really sad thing. That means these kids are eating JUNK. Take-out, pre-packaged meals, etc. I am really hoping that this project will help them learn to love cooking at an early age, therefore also encouraging healthy habits and smart financial choices.

Let’s talk prizes for a second.

Each winning student will receive over 225 dollars worth of prizes!

Did you hear that? Over two-hundred and twenty-five dollars worth. Each! Umm, yeah. We have some seriously generous and amazing sponsors on board and I am so grateful to every single one of them. They have prizes for you too, if you come here and vote.

Each student in the winning group will receive:

In addition, winners will be chosen at random from those who cast votes for prizes including:

  • Le Creuset Essential Bakeware Set ($277 retail value)
  • Wüsthof Classic 4.5-inch Micro-Serrated Utility Knife ($60 retail value)
  • KitchenAid® 5-Speed Hand Blender ($129.99 retail value)
  • Red Star Yeast Kneaded Loaf book, apron, cutting/kneading board, spatula and thermometer ($35 retail value)
  • Keep It Sweet Desserts gourmet gift basket ($50+ retail value)
  • A case of 32 ounce Chobani yogurt ($100 retail value)
  • Three Flavor Artisan Caramel Combination Pack from Toot Sweet Caramels ($30+ retail value)
  • Kerrygold gift basket ($175 retail value)
  • California Pizza Kitchen gift card ($50 retail value)


Blendtec has also agreed to donate a blender for the students to use in the classroom (color me jealous!). They will also be using Red Star Yeast and California Olive Ranch olive oil during their pizza preparation.

I have such high hopes for these pizzas — I cannot wait to see what the students come up with. My hope is that they are overwhelmed with the support and generosity of the culinary community and are inspired to get in the kitchen on a regular basis. Come back Wednesday to pick your favorite pizza and be entered to win one of those great prizes!


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  1. Rachel I would love to know how you got sponsors etc for your cook off. I am a foods teacher at a suburban school of Detroit and I wanted to have a cook off as part of my final using some basic ingredients such as apples, or potatoes (watching costs, I have 5 foods classes).
    Any suggestions would be appeciated.
    Thank you

    • Hi Charlotte,
      Thank you for reaching out! I had connections in place already with these brands so I reached out to them and asked if it was something they would be interested in. Sorry I can’t be of more help! Maybe you could reach out to some local businesses and ask if they’d like to sponsor?

  2. Rachel this is amazing. Wow you rock! What a huge undertaking to organize this. This is really really exciting!

  3. Great bunch of kids. Thank you for putting there pizzas on your web. I am partial to no. 7.

  4. WOW! Rachel, this is INCREDIBLE! Seriously, way to go – good for you and your hubs for engaging the kids creatively (and nutritionally) like this. I love when administrators take a personal interest in students’ lives and well-being. Awesome! I can’t wait to see what those kids come up with – I bet it’s going to be good!

  5. This is AWESOME Rachel! I can’t wait to see what they come up with!

  6. SO exciting! I used to work with kids and I know how much things like this can make a huge impact in someones life. Just learning how much they can do, and how much potential they have. Can’t wait to see the recipes!

  7. You, my dear, are amazing and generous and such an inspiration! I can’t wait to see what they come up with and come back and vote!

  8. What a fun contest Rachel! Can’t wait to see what they come up with

  9. this is so stinkin fun!! I am thrilled to see what they all come up with! I’ll be here to vote ! :)

  10. This sounds so fun! Every school should have a program like this! Can’t wait to vote!

  11. This is so awesome and I just think the world of you and your husband for putting it all together in support of these kids. They will never forget it.

  12. I’m so excited for you! This is such an awesome opportunity and I’m so glad to see these kids getting the opportunity to learn how to make delicious (and healthy!) meals. You are so awesome for putting this together :)

  13. Yay I see why you are so excited this is great!!! I can’t wait to see the pizzas that they make!

  14. I can’t wait to vote, this is awesome, Rach!

  15. I think this is wonderful. I think a class like this should be mandatory like P.E.

  16. I LOVE this idea! So many kids have no idea how to cook and it just carries further on into life, but giving them an outlet for creativity and learning these amazing skills will carry through to everywhere in their lives. So excited for you guys, can’t wait to see what they make!

  17. Very Cool! What a great opportunity for the students!

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