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Any way you slice it, this year’s Junior Iron Chef Competition is sure to be spicy

Six of the Twin Cities’ hottest chefs and twelve middle school students will team up to compete for the title of Junior Iron Chef and the opportunity to have their recipe added to the MPS lunch menu next school year in the fifth annual Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Junior Iron Chef Competition.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper of American Public Media’s The Splendid Table and Stephanie Hansen of myTalk 107.1’s Weekly Dish will emcee the event, providing the play-by-play as teams create, prepare and serve unique recipes. For this special fifth-anniversary event, the competition will include a new and exciting twist: plant-based protein. Teams will have one hour to prepare vegetarian dishes using plant-base proteins and a pantry of ingredients found in MPS school kitchens.

What: Fifth annual Minneapolis Public Schools Junior Iron Chef Competition

When: Thursday, May 2 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. (Media welcome to arrive at 5 p.m.)

Where: Chowgirls at Solar Arts
711 15th Ave. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413

Learn more about the competition here. The Junior Iron Chef competition is sponsored by Life Time Foundation and hosted in partnership with Chowgirls Killer Catering and the True Food Chef Council. Participating celebrity chefs and judges include:


  • Andrew Vuong Fig+Farro
  • Justin Sutherland Handsome Hog
  • Tammy Wong Rainbow Chinese
  • Jared Brewington Funky Grits
  • Zack Hable Trio
  • Carrie McCabe-Johnston Nightingale


  • Sue Zelickson James Beard Award Winner & Founder of The Charlie Awards
  • Emily Akradi Life Time Foundation 
  • Susan Moores Roots for the Home Team
  • Melissa Coleman The Faux Martha
  • Kimberly Caprini Minneapolis School Board Director 
  • Naimah Muhammad MPS Student & Previous Junior Iron Chef Competitor

About Minneapolis Public Schools

In the heart of Minneapolis lies a diverse, urban school district committed to promoting learning and accelerating student outcomes for more than 36,000 students in more than 70 schools. Every day, nearly 7,300 devoted staff members help students prepare to graduate college and career ready.

Minneapolis Public Schools Culinary and Wellness Services is dedicated to students' health, wellbeing and their ability to learn. As part of their mission to nurture all students through access to quality food and active living, the department is committed to serving TRUE FOOD made from scratch using whole, fresh, and locally sourced ingredients. MPS is proud to partner with the Life Time Foundation, the sponsor of this year’s Jr Iron Chef Competition, to serve nourishing food that will help our students live healthy, happy lives.

About the True Food Chef Council

Founded in 2013, the True Food Chef Council is a partnership between MPS Culinary & Wellness Services department and the Minneapolis culinary community. Chef Council members are spokespeople who promote and endorse MPS’ commitment to scratch cooking, food integrity, local food, and healthy eating. They directly engage with students in school lunchrooms and at special events, raise awareness about good food in MPS school meals, and create and endorse new school meal recipes.

About the Life Time Foundation

The Life Time Foundation is dedicated to helping children live healthy, happy lives. The foundation partners with school districts, such as MPS, to provide support to eliminate highly processed, unhealthy foods from school meals and develop sustainable approaches to accelerate healthy change in school food.