Dusty Dollins and Spencer Riley recently attended the “Great American Seafood Cookoff – 4H Edition” in New Orleans representing Oklahoma 4H. They prepared a dish called “Southwest Okie Fish” and presented it in front of a large crowd while the event was televised. They prepared their dish and served it to a panel of 4 judges, gave an oral presentation, and answered questions related to preparation, nutrition, how the dish relates to Oklahoma, and costs associated with the dish. They were chosen as this year’s national winners for their efforts. “We are absolutely thrilled for these two Jackson County 4H Youth” Gary Strickland, Jackson County OSU Extension Office CED and 4H Educator said. They represented Jackson County and Oklahoma 4H with a lot pride and culinary skill. Their coach, Dani Jensen, accompanied them to New Orleans along with Dusty’s grandparents and Spencer’s mother. “The whole group was ecstatic as the results were announced and shared with the crowd”, Strickland said.
Dusty and Spencer’s road to nationals entailed winning the 2013 District and State 4H Food Showdown competitions and thus winning the right to represent Oklahoma at the 4H edition of the National Seafood Cook-Off . They competed against teams from Louisiana, Texas, and Kansas. Their winning dish recipe is now posted on the State 4H web page and has been published in several magazines.
Strickland indicated, that as with any effort like this many volunteers and a large support system are involved. Therefore, a big “Thank You” comes from both Dusty and Spencer to those adult volunteers who spent time, gave money, provided input and critique, and offered encouragement along the way. A very special thank you goes out to Ms. Dani Jensen for all of her coaching input and direction. Together, all of this support made this a great experience and the win a reality.