Culinary Arts
The creative practice of cooking. One who engages in the culinary arts, or a culinarian, is either called a cook or a chef depending on their level of expertise.

  1. Each participant must be a high school junior or senior and is required to have previous or current formal culinary education, training or experience.

  2. Each participant must dress in full professional chef whites, including toque and apron throughout the competition.

  3. The competition events will be held in a banquet/conference room with table top burner or induction cooking.


  1. 1(one) written Menu Plan is required per student. The Menu Plan will consist of the student’s plan for executing their competition menu. Six (6) copies of a typed 8-½-inch by 11-inch double-spaced Menu Plan are required. The Menu Plan should be a maximum of 2 pages and include the guidelines identified in the Menu Plan template. The student’s name and page number should appear at the top of each page. The six (6) copies must be submitted on or before the specified deadline.

  2. Prior to the start of competition, the student is required to make an Oral Presentation, not to exceed five (5) minutes, explaining his/her Menu Plan. Contestants should be familiar with business terminology in general and about terminology related to their selected menu. Contestants are required to have personally conducted the Menu Plan analysis and have been involved with the production of any prototype product or service trials.

  3. Each participant will present a Culinary Skill Demonstration following all HACCP guidelines and will have 2 hours and 30 minutes preparation and clean up time to complete the following:

    • Two (2) course presentations consisting of Appetizer/Starter Course (student must prepare)
    • Three(3) individual Show plates representing balance and proper portioning
    • Main Course
    • Three(3) individual Show plates (to include a center of the plate protein and 2 accompaniments)
    • Participants will choose one of the following proteins for use in the Culinary Skills Demonstration: Rock Cornish Game Hen, Chicken or Duck (Whole or part of the bird)
    • The student will be prepared to fabricate and prepare ONE of the following proteins:
      a) 1 to 1 ½ pound Rock Cornish Game Hen OR
      b) 2 to 2 ½ pound Chicken OR
      c) 5 to 6 pound Duck
  4. The participant is not required to use all of the preparation time. The participant will present in this sequence: Starter Dish- 1 plate for presentation and critique and two plates for the judges table. Main Course – 1 plate for presentation and critique, two plates for the judges table. The participant must be prepared to break down the center of the plate protein items. A community storeroom table and community equipment table will be provided and shared by each of the competition participants. The storeroom may have a variety of ingredients in addition to the items for the Culinary Skills Demonstration. Competitors may freely utilize any ingredient and/or equipment in the competition area.

No advance food preparation or cooking is allowed – this includes pre-measured items.

  • Chef Toque’s, cutting boards and sanitizer & gloves will be provided.
  • The community storeroom table will include items from the list on the attached Community storeroom list as well as additional available items.
  • Cooking equipment use will be limited to any cooking preparation equipment which is located on site at the competition facility. If necessary, alternative cooking may be done at an adjacent location at the competition facility. Cooking will be monitored by judges in these areas as well. Each kitchen work area must be left clean, neat and orderly.
  • The judges will finalize scores after the inspection of the kitchen and working areas.

NOTE: The deadline for submission of National Registration documents is the first Friday in May. No materials or copies will be accepted at the National Competition.

Contestants Will Be Judged By The Following Criteria:

Written Menu Plan (15 points)

  1. Menu Content (5)
  2. Grammatical Accuracy (5)
  3. Main Course
  4. Product Knowledge (5)

Oral Presentation (25 points)

  1. Creativity (10)
  2. Skills and Craftsmanship (10)
  3. Serving and Portion Size (5)

Culinary Skill Demonstration (60 points)

  1. Flavor and Texture (20)
  2. Sanitation (5)
  3. Work Habits (10)
  4. Ingredient Compatibility (5)
  5. Nutritional Balance (5)
  6. Presentation (10)
  7. Use of Allotted Time (5)


  1.  Typed 8-½-inch by 11-inch double-spaced
  2. The menu plan should be a maximum of 3 pages (including cover)
  3. The student’s name and page number should appear at the top of each page.
  4. The six (6) copies must be submitted according to the Culinary Arts Guidelines.
    • Page One (Cover page)
      • Full Name
      • ACT-SO program in which you are representing
      • Incumbent school classification
      • Name of High School
      • Name of chef mentor
    • Page Two
      • How you chose your menu
      • The origin of the menu items (i.e. flavor choices)
      • In what concept would you serve your menu
      • Ex. Full service restaurant, quick style, fast food chain, catering
    • Page Three (Recipe) – Recipe items should be listed in the form of a standard recipe format
      • Dishes being prepared
      • Starter/appetizer
      • Main Course
      • Side items
      • Ingredients for each dish
      • Measurements of ingredients
      • Instructions of preparation