SNYDER, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The “Texas Twisters,” a 4-H team out of Scurry County, has been competing in the Food Challenge for two years together, though many of them have been in the game for longer on their own. Most recently, the Texas Twisters took home the grand prize for its ingenuity in the kitchen.
Kelton White, who’s been at it since the first grade, said his team’s recent national win was due entirely to their training and teamwork.
“The second round was a lot of pressure to get everything cleaned up in time for presentation, but the team works almost better under pressure, so that may have helped us,” said White.
Fellow Texas Twister, Whitley Anderson vouched, “It is very high pressure, I will say, but actually, in our final round at nationals, I think we were having our most fun we’ve ever had while cooking.”
After qualifying at the state level and another Scurry County team coming in second, the Texas Twisters qualified for nationals at the Texas State Fair.
For those not familiar with Food Challenge, White explained, “We kind of relate it back to Chopped. So in the mystery basket they have, we get a single ingredient and four different categories. Our category was protein for the pre-lims and our ingredient was kidney beans. It’s a 40 minute cook time.”
In the final round, the Texas Twisters won out against the best in the nation with their spinach and cream cheese-stuffed mushrooms on a bed of asparagus.
“It’s pretty neat to see the dishes that come out of this contest when they have 40 minutes with no recipe in front of them,” said Team coach and Kelton’s mom, Ronda White.
But food prep is only part of the competition. Professional presentation, food knowledge and nutritional knowledge play a large role in the event. It’s a fact that the team said Coach White never let them lose sight of.
“She would judge anything she possibly could to get us what we needed, to ensure that we were presenting what we needed to present,” said team member, Allie Gullet. “I think that her efforts into what needed to be said and added into our presentation helped us a lot.”
Though this was a big win for them, the Texas Twisters told KTAB/KRBC it was not their most high-pressure competition. That title went to the Great American Seafood Cookoff, a televised Louisiana-based event in which this team placed third.
Nationals, however, was their final event as a team. Now, some like White say they’re looking forward to a possible future in the culinary arts.
“I’ve really grown a love for this and seeing how it can effect the community that I could serve is very rewarding… And so I’m interested, one day, in owning a restaurant if that’s something that the Lord sees me doing,” White added.