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Agriculture Dept. creates culinary competition to promote local products

Looking to promote farming and the consumption of locally sourced food, the Agriculture Department announced the start of the “Chef Del País” competition between culinary arts students that seeks chefs-in-training to prepare innovative recipes with local products.

The cook-off was created in partnership with the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico, Ana G. Méndez, ICPR Jr. College, and National University, Agriculture Secretary Ramón González said.

The judges for the competition to be aired online will be Chefs Ventura Vivoni and Miguel Campis, accompanied by a third surprise guest jury at each event.

“We’re joining forces with the different culinary arts schools so that in healthy competition we can educate about the quality products that are produced in our land,” González said.

“This is the beginning of many other projects at the Department to produce and distribute products harvested in Puerto Rico,” said González.

The events will take place in the different farmer’s markets across the island. The competitions will be aired on the Agriculture Department’s Facebook page, as well as the Agricultural Development Innovation Fund’s page, starting at 9 a.m.

Today’s competition will feature National University students, who will cook at the Placita de Plaza del Caribe in Ponce. On April 29, students from the Inter will compete in the Placita in Plaza Las Américas and on April 30, students from Ana G. Méndez will compete at the Placita in Naranjito.

The semifinal will take place May 6-7 and the final competition will be on May 14.

Each university will be represented by two students, who will compete against each other. The student chefs may be assisted by one person each. As part of the competition, they will have to prepare an appetizer and a main dish. However, the participant who manages to make a dessert within the time period granted will receive a bonus in the final score. The dessert preparation will be optional, and they will not be penalized for not making it, competition officials said.

The competition’s winner will receive a Vitamix blender worth $1,000, while the second place will get a set of professional knives. The college represented by the winning student will get a $1,000 gift certificate to purchase products marketed under the “Del País” brand.

Meanwhile, the school represented by the student with the second highest marks will receive a $500 gift certificate valid for the same purchases.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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