Junior Chef Showdown




Calling all aspiring young chefs! 2017 will be the 2nd annual Junior Chef at John’s Pass Seafood Festival. Middle and high school student teams will create recipes and compete to be the top Junior Chef in Florida and win prizes!


This educational event hopes to:

  • Encourage youth to learn new skills in cooking to lead a healthier lifestyle
  • Promote the use of local, sustainable food to support our local fisherman and environment
  • Help promote culinary tourism nationally


Who: Middle and High School students

What: 2nd Junior Chef Competition

Where: 12901 Gulf Blvd, Madeira Beach

When: Sunday, October 29th, 3pm – 5pm . Registration due by October 1, 2017

Action: Send your registration information and risk waiver form by October 1st to Ashley Giasone with the Ryan Wells Foundation at ashley@ryanwellsfoundation.com



  • Teams consist of 3-5 members
  • Middle school teams can be any grades 6-8th. High school teams can be any grades 9-12th
  • Team members do not have to go to school together as long as they are same age group
  • Teams are allowed one (optional) alternate. This alternate must be listed on registration form and must fill out the required paperwork even if they do not end up competing.
  • Teams are required to have an adult team supervisor. Adult supervisor must be at least 25 years old and can be any parent, teacher, or other member of the community. Adult supervisor must be present at competition in the spectator area, but will not be allowed to assist in cooking during the competition or shout directions to their teams. Failure to follow this rule may result in the team being disqualified.
  • Teams will be required to send registration information (school name, student names, adult supervisor name/phone number/email address, and menu) plus all signed risk waivers form to Ashley Giasone at ashley@ryanwellsfoundation.com by October 1st, If a student is under the age of 18, their legal guardian must sign the risk waiver form. Failure to turn in required paperwork in a timely manner MAY result in your team being disqualified.



Teams will work with their adult supervisor to make an entree featuring Florida Seafood and United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) foods (federal commodity foods). Each entree must consist of seafood, a starch and a vegetable. Teams must submit their registration information include the menu by October 1, 2017. Recipes will be judged on nutritional quality, use of local ingredients, and creativity. Up to eight teams will be selected to bring their winning recipes to life in the competition October 29, 2017. Top recipes will be shared with all affiliations in the hospitality industry, including but not limited to restaurants, hotels, chamber of commerce’s, Visit St Pete Clearwater, Visit Florida and Florida Lodging & Restaurants.



Finalist from the Recipe Contest will be eligible to prepare

their entree on-site at the John’s Pass Junior Chef Cook-off competition during the John’s Pass Seafood Festival on Sunday, October 29th, 2017. Teams will also create a Marketing Flyer to present with their meals at the cook-off event. Entrees will be judged by an expert panel on:

  • Taste-How yummy it is?
  • Presentation-Does it look appetizing?
  • Mise en Place (everything in its place)
  • Creativity-Is the recipe original?
  • Use of local Seafood -Does local seafood star in this dish?
  • Use of USDA Ingredients- Do USDA foods play a large role in dish?
  • Healthy Choices-What is the calorie count of the recipe and are the ingredients healthy?



Prizes will be awarded to all team’s participants. First Place $500, Second Place $250 and Third Place $125 and matching cash prizes for their schools.



  • Depending on the number of teams, there will be one or two rounds of cooking the first will begin promptly at 3:00 pm and finish at 4:00 pm. The teams in this heat may start setting up at 2:30 pm. Please be prepared to have at least one team member remain at the event until completion at 5:00 pm to receive awards.
  • Drop off students and equipment at 129th & John’s Pass Way and Park in 130th City Parking Lot. Adult Supervisors will need to park and ride the shuttle or ferry back to the festival (See Getting Here).
  • You will cook 6 lunch size portions (5 for judge tasting and 1 for display/plating)
  • As part of food safety long hair needs to be tied back, aprons must be worn, shoes must be closed toe, no rings or bracelets, no nail polish or false/acrylic nails. No gum chewing.
  • A tabletop grill, a trash can, plates/silverware/napkins for plating, and a (1) 8ft table will be provided. No outside plating items are allowed. You are responsible for bringing all ingredients, cooking tools, pan/pot, and utensils. If your recipe requires some type of electrical equipment (blender, food processor, etc.) consider the mechanical options (hand mashers, graders, mandolin slicer). Due to power limitations, this rule is strictly enforced.
  • You have one half hour (30 minutes) to cook your dish. You may pre-measure seasonings and prep sauces prior to arrival however, all cooking must be done on site.

Teams may finish and hand in dishes for judging after 20 minutes has passed.

  • Judges will be on the floor while you are cooking and will be looking for proper cooking and sanitation skills.
  • Adult supervisor must be present at competition in the spectator area, but will not be allowed to assist in cooking during the competition or shout directions to their teams.

Failure to follow this rule may result in the team being disqualified.


Festival Hours

Thursday Arts & Crafts only 3pm to 9pm
Thursday Flavors of the Gulf (ticketed event) 6pm -10pm
Friday 10am -10pm
Saturday 10am -10pm
Sunday 10am-6 pm

Contact Us

12902 Village Blvd, Madeira Beach, FL 33708


Office Hours
Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.