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University of Illinois Extension serving Christian, Jersey, Macoupin and Montgomery Counties

Montgomery County
#1 Industrial Park Dr.
Hillsboro, IL 62049
Phone: 217-532-3941
FAX: 217-532-3944
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 12 pm; 1 pm to 4:30 pm

Christian County
1120 N Webster St.
Taylorville, IL 62568
Phone: 217-287-7246
FAX: 217-287-7248
Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am to 11:30 am; 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm

Jersey County
201 W. Exchange St.
Suite A
Jerseyville, IL 62052
Phone: 618-498-2913
FAX: 618-498-5913
Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 8 am to 12 pm; 1 pm to 4 pm and Thursday 8 am to 12 pm

Macoupin County
#60 Carlinville Plaza
Carlinville, IL 62626
Phone: 217-854-9604
FAX: 217-854-7804
Hours: Monday - Thursday 8 am to 12 pm; 1 pm to 4:30 pm

News Release

Accent photo

Extension Hosts “Chopped” Style Cooking Challenge for Christian County Youth

TAYLORVILLE, IL - On August 9, at the Christian County Extension office in Taylorville, the University of Illinois Extension hosted a cooking challenge for about 20 area youth. The cooking challenge was inspired by the T.V. show “Chopped”. Youth were separated into teams and had to create their own original dish using two key mystery ingredients, which were tortillas and cream cheese. A variety of additional ingredients, such as fruits, vegetables, and sliced meats were also available for the teams to incorporate into their original recipe. Teams had 45 minutes to develop a recipe and prepare their dish.

Participants were judged on if they incorporated USDA’s MyPlate into their recipe, taste, appearance, creativity, and how well they could explain their dish to the judges. The winning group was “Team Mystic” whose members included Cameron Sherman, Brandon Schulz, Maxx Grieme, and Bradley Mahan. Judges for the event were Jodi Heberling, Community Worker, INEP Illinois Nutrition Education Program SNAP-ED in Christian County, and Lisa Peterson, Extension Nutrition and Wellness Educator.

All youth who participated this summer in the Jr. Chef cooking camps throughout the county were invited to participate. Each youth left with a recipe box and recipes, as well as an Extension backpack with pencils, a rubber spatula, and 4-H literature inside. Each member of the winning team also received an Extension cutting board and a Jr Chef apron.

Cooking challenge participants included: Caylee Anders, Bulpitt; Emma Banning, Tower Hill; Rylie Butterfield, Taylorville; Kassidee Cantrell, Pana; Kyla Demascal, Pana; Tiffany Demascal, Pana; Psymon Dickey, Bulpitt; Jacob Dorn, Pana; Leah Doty, Taylorville; Maxx Grieme, Taylorville; Hannah Harwood, Taylorville; Liberty Law, Pana; Bradley Mahan, Stonington; Amber Litton, Pana; Brandon Schulz, Tower Hill; Cameron Sherman, Taylorville; Jessica Whipple, Morrisonville; Rebecca Whipple, Morrisonville; Waylon Whipple, Morrisonville; William Whipple, Morrisonville; Klaira Pelichoff, Taylorville; and Tripp Pelichoff, Taylorville.

The “Illinois Jr Chef” cooking camps were sponsored by the University of Illinois Extension Unit 18 in cooperation with SNAP ED, and 4-H. The free camps were open to children between the ages of 8-12 years.  The camps offered kids the opportunity to make their own nutritious meals and get excited about healthy foods like whole grains, low fat dairy and also how to add more fruits and vegetables to their meals.  Participants not only learned how to prepare delicious and nutritious meals, but also hand washing and sanitation practices, as well as food and kitchen safety.

The cooking challenge was coordinated by Rebecca Livingston, Extension Summer Help. The program was made possible through a partnership with University of Illinois Extension, SNAP ED, and 4-H. University of Illinois Extension provides practical education that help people, businesses and communities solve problems, develop skills and build a better future. For more information visit the Unit 18 website at or contact your local Extension office.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment.  If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this program, please contact our office. Universidad de Illinois ofrece igualdad de oportunidades en programas y empleo.  Si usted necesita un ajuste razonable para participar en este programa, por favor póngase en contacto con nuestra oficina.



Photo Caption: Team “Mystic” was the winner the Christian County Cooking Challenge held in Taylorville.  Members included: Cameron Sherman, Brandon Schulz , Maxx Grieme, and Bradley Mahan.

Local Contact: Jodi Heberling, Community Worker, SNAP-ED,