Iron Chef Classroom Challenge

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  • Lesson Identification and TEKS Addressed

    Cluster : Hospitality and Tourism

    Course : Practicum in Culinary Arts

  • TEKS Student Expectations

    • (2) The student develops skills for success in the workplace. The student is expected to:
      • (A) comprehend and model appropriate grooming and appearance for the workplace
      • (B) demonstrate dependability, punctuality, and initiative
      • (C) develop positive interpersonal skills, including respect for diversity
      • (E) exhibit productive work habits, ethical practices, and a positive attitude
      • (F) demonstrate knowledge of personal and occupational health and safety practices in the workplace
      • (G) demonstrate the ability to work with the other employees to support the organization and complete assigned tasks
      • (H) prioritize work to fulfill responsibilities and meet deadlines
      • (J) demonstrate effective verbal, non-verbal, written, and electronic communication skills
      • (K) apply effective listening skills used in the workplace
    • (3) The student demonstrates work ethics, employer expectations, interaction with diverse populations, and communication skills in the workplace. The student is expected to:
      • (B) demonstrate characteristics of successful working relationships such as teamwork, conflict resolution, self-control, and the ability to accept criticism
    • (6) The student applies the use of self-development techniques and interpersonal skills to accomplish objectives. The student is expected to:
      • (A) identify and practice effective interpersonal and team-building skills involving situations with coworkers, managers, and customers
    • (7) The student uses concepts and skills related to safety in the workplace. The student is expected to:
      • (A) identify and apply safe working practices
      • (B) solve problems related to unsafe work practices and attitudes
    • (10) The student understands the history of food service and the use of the professional kitchen. The student is expected to:
      • (D) analyze how current trends in society affect the food service industry
      • (E) use large and small equipment in a commercial kitchen
      • (F) develop food production and presentation techniques
      • (G) demonstrate moist and dry cookery methods
      • (H) demonstrate food preparation skills used in commercial food service preparations such as breakfast cookery, salads and dressings, soups and sandwiches, stocks and sauces, appetizers, seafood, poultry cookery, meat cookery, pastas and grains, and fruits and vegetables
      • (I) demonstrate baking techniques such as yeast breads and rolls, quick breads, and desserts
      • (K) demonstrate proper cleaning of equipment and maintenance of the commercial kitchen
      • (L) demonstrate types of table setting, dining, and service skills
    • (11) The student documents technical knowledge and skills. The student is expected to:
      • (A) complete a professional career portfolio to include:
        • (iii) licensures or certifications
        • (iv) recognitions, awards, and scholarships
  • Basic Direct Teach Lesson

    Instructional Objectives

    Students will:

    • plan, prepare, and present an appetizer, entree, dessert, and drink (one, two, three, or all) for classroom competition
    • work as a team member to create a flavorful product
    • create plating techniques for their food product
    • explore current trends using techniques for cooking, baking, and mixing
    • determine recipe cost and nutritional analysis of food items
  • Rationale

    Now that you have learned the basics of culinary, it is time to bring skills, techniques, teamwork and time management together to compete in Iron Chef Classroom Challenge. It is extremely important that everyone listen closely to all instructions, work as a team and meet the challenge! Let’s get started!

    Teacher Note: This lesson can be modified to include only one food item or an array of food plates for judging. Keep in the mind the cost, time needed to prepare items, and judging time needed as well.

  • Duration of Lesson

    Six 45 minute class periods

    Note: This challenge may need additional class time to prep, cook/bake and present to judges. Adjust your time as needed.

  • Word Wall

    Challenge: A call to engage in a contest, fight, or competition

    Creativity: The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work

    Interpersonal Skills: The set of abilities enabling a person to interact positively and work effectively with others

    Iron Chef: A Japanese television cooking show produced by Fuji Television. The series, which premiered on October 10, 1992, is a stylized cook-off featuring guest chefs challenging one of the show’s resident “Iron Chefs” in a timed cooking battle built around a specific theme ingredient

    Plating: The arrangement of food items and garnishes on a plate

    Teamwork: The process of working collaboratively with a group of people in order to achieve a goal

    Time Management: Refers to a range of skills, tools, and techniques used to manage time when accomplishing specific tasks, projects and goals

    Work Habits: Those aspects of behavior in a work setting that enable a person to meet the demands of a job in accordance to employment standards

    If lesson is modified, change terms and definitions accordingly.

  • Materials/Specialized Equipment Needed


    • computer with projector for multimedia presentation
    • computer lab with Internet for recipe research
    • display tables


    • assortment of plating dishes
    • cake decorating supplies (bags, tips, gel colors)
    • garnishing tools
    • kitchen utensils and equipment (various)
    • timer
    • markers (anticipatory set)
    • poster board/butcher paper (anticipatory set)
    • tape (anticipatory set)


    • calculators
    • copies of grocery receipts

    • copies of handouts (see All Lesson Attachments tab)

  • Anticipatory Set

    In order for this lesson to be successful, the following will need to be addressed:

    • Permission from administration
    • Specific date(s) for competition
    • Secret ingredient to be used in each class
    • Specific rules particular to your local school/district
    • Teachers, administrators, directors, professional chefs, student chefs, instructors at local culinary arts school, local business owners, and community leaders can be invited to attend and participate as judges.

    Think of other ways that this lesson can promote your program and allow the community to see the outstanding work your students do.

    Note to Teacher: This lesson was student created with rules agreed upon by the class. Instill the creativity and imagination in your students to come up with your own rules pertaining to this competition.

    Before class begins:

    View Food Network’s Iron Chef America videos to familiarize yourself with competition

    Gather posterboard/butcher paper, markers and tape for student scribe.
    Arrange as many items as available from list in Materials or Specialized Equipment Needed section on a table in front of the classroom
    As students enter the classroom, they will be able to see the display.

    When class begins, ask students the following questions:

    • Has anyone seen the Food Network’s series Iron Chef America? Have a student that has viewed the series explain the show’s concept to students who have not seen it.
    • Why do you think this show is so popular right now?
    • What is the most exotic secret ingredient you have seen on the show?
    • How would you feel about participating in an Iron Chef Classroom Challenge?

    Designate a student scribe and provide them with a poster board/butcher paper, makers and tape. Students may brainstorm possible steps in preparing for the Iron Chef Challenge. Student scribe will post notes on classroom wall for further discussion.

  • Direct Instruction with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Events in this lesson are expected to be modified to accommodate campus/district guidelines and classroom instruction.

    Introduce objectives, terms, and definitions.

    Introduce slide presentation Iron Chef Classroom Challenge PowerPoint™ (see All Lesson Attachments tab).
    View a segment of the show following the link on the slide presentation.
    Other shows may also be viewed if time permits.

    Refer back to notes taken by student scribe during Anticipatory Set. Discuss and determine the date of competition, rules, judging, etc.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • check for understanding
    • repeated review

  • Guided Practice with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Distribute Iron Chef Classroom Challenge Plan handout (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Two versions have been provided – one with suggested Kitchen Brigade and another with blanks that can be filled in using your brigade system.

    Refer to lesson The Visual Appeal of Plating Food for ideas to plate food items.

    Students may choose their own team members in subgroups of 4 or 5 depending on class size. They should work together as a team and encourage positive attitudes and work habits.

    Notify the class of the “secret ingredient” to be used in their recipes. All groups in the class will use the same secret ingredient but each class may have a different choice. This is part of the challenge.

    Choose a “secret ingredient” that will fit in your budget, is in season as it will be more flavorful, more abundant, and lower in price. Refer to slide presentation for more ideas.

    Allow students to research recipes on the internet or cookbooks that can be mixed, cooked, baked, and cooled in one to two class period. All recipes should be pre-approved by you for available ingredients.

    Once students have chosen a recipe, distribute Recipe Cost Analysis handout (see All Lesson Attachments tab) and copies of grocery receipts from previous labs. Students should calculate the cost of each ingredient used in their recipe as well as cost per serving. Follow example on slide presentation.

    Distribute Recipe Nutritional Analysis and Standards of Measurement handouts (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Allow students to use the Nutrition Facts from the ingredients they will use in their recipe to complete form. Follow example on slide presentation. Students may also use a software program if your school has one available.

    Distribute and review Rubric for Iron Chef Classroom Challenge (see All Lesson Attachments tab) to each group so students will be aware of the standard judges will be looking for.

    Brainstorm with your students as to what the prize(s) will be for the competition winners.


    • certificate for the winners, certificates of participation (computer generated)
    • winners names announced over school intercom
    • bonus points on a quiz or test
    • winners names and pictures displayed on bulletin board in hallway or submitted to district’s communication
      department for acknowledgement on district website
    • anything that will bring recognition to your students and class and will promote enrollment in your courses

    Additional ideas: Have students brainstorm team logos that can be used for the competition. Student teams may purchase and decorate matching team T-shirts. Check with a local t-shirt vendor and ask for the cost of a basic t-shirt (white is usually the cheapest) and how much an iron transfer would cost. If your school permits, the event may be allowed as a fundraiser and a minimal fee charged for a limited number of audience members. Include the name of your school and class to promote your program. Students from your other classes may participate by assisting you in video recording the event (video or pictures), setting the judges table, folding napkins, or washing dishes, etc. This can become a campus event.

    Allowing students to assist you with ideas will help them be creative and become skilled in making decisions.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • peer tutoring
    • computer-aided instruction

  • Independent Practice/Laboratory Experience with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Students should arrive on time and be prepared to work under time constraints. Explain to students if recipe is not completed in the allotted time, it will be disqualified.

    Remind students of food safety rules learned in previous lessons.

    Recipes chosen should serve 4 to 6 people allowing small portions for each judge (three to four) and sample for each member of the group. Recipe selected by students may need to be modified (increased or decreased) in order to yield the right amount. Any remaining food items may be distributed to counselors (who assist in registration), custodians (who keep your room clean), colleagues (who assist you with daily routines), and administrators (who evaluate you).

    Only one team can win and will be awarded the prizes decided before the competition.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • shortened, simplified instructions
    • step by step instructions

  • Lesson Closure

    Review objectives, terms, and definitions.

    Team members will compare the cost analysis and nutritional analysis of their recipes to evaluate which team has the following:

    • the most expensive recipe
    • the least expensive recipe
    • the most nutritional recipe
    • the recipe with the highest calories

    Remind students that lab should be left clean and in order for the next class. They should review lessons previously learned in the proper cleaning and maintenance of commercial equipment they used.

  • Summative/End of Lesson Assessment with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Distribute a copy of the rubric to each judge for each group in the competition. Review the rubric with the judges so they will understand the criteria.

    Students will present their chosen recipe with the secret ingredient to each judge and may inform them of any special procedures, techniques, and skills they used in making their recipe. This can also include the Recipe Cost Analysis and Recipe Nutritional Analysis (see All Lesson Attachments tab) to inform the judges of the value of their recipe. Presentation of food items may include special dishes, glasses, or paper products.
    Students will then be assessed with rubric scored by judges. Prizes will be awarded to winning teams.
    All students will write a one page reflection on what they personally learned during this lesson. Encourage students to focus on the culinary, leadership and team building skills they learned/utilized and how this experience will assist them in the future.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • check for understanding
    • extra time for oral response
    • frequent feedback

  • References/Resources


    • (2010). Culinary Essentials. Woodland Hills, Illinois: Glenco, McGraw-Hill.


  • Additional Required Components

    English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Strategies

    • word wall
    • draw visual representations of terms on word wall
    • The Four Corner Vocabulary Activity (see below) is a great instructional strategy for English Language Learners. A variation of this activity is to have students document the information, using an index card per word, and create their own Personal Dictionary. The left hand corner of each index cards can be hole punched and deck can be held together with an over-sized notebook ring.
  • College and Career Readiness Connection

    AchieveTexas Career Cluster Crosswalks

    The Career Cluster Crosswalks housed on the AchieveTexas website provide Texas teachers with a direct connection between their CTE course TEKS and the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS). Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Cross-Disciplinary integration are the focus of the CCRS. These college and career readiness standards are essential in the planning and delivery of CTE lessons. The extent to which the integration occurs is determined by the methods and strategies utilized by each teacher.

    Career Cluster Crosswalks for Education and Training, Hospitality and Tourism, and Human Services Career Clusters can be found at:

  • Recommended Strategies

    Reading Strategies

    Students may read blogs about cooking and baking to gather ideas and compare and contrast the different cooking blog websites.

    Encourage students to “visualize” as they read. Many students are visual learners and will benefit from making sketches or diagrams on scratch paper as they read. Providing students with graphic organizers to help them organize their thoughts is also helpful.

  • Quotes

    A clever cook can make good meat of a whetstone.

    A cook is creative, marrying ingredients in the way a poet marries words.
    -Roger Verge

    A good apprentice cook must be polite with the dishwasher as with the chef.
    -Fernand Point

    You never forget a beautiful thing that you have made. Even after you eat it, it stays with you — always.
    -Chef Bugnard

    When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste.
    -Laiko Bahrs

    A messy kitchen is a happy kitchen and this kitchen is delirious.

  • Multimedia/Visual Strategies


    • Iron Chef Classroom Challenge
    • Presentation Notes – Iron Chef Classroom Challenge


    Files for downloading:

  • Graphic Organizers/Handout

    Graphic Organizer:

    • Iron Chef Classroom Challenge Plan


    • Iron Chef Classroom Challenge Certificate
    • Plating Plan for Visual Appeal (Round Plate)
    • Plating Plan for Visual Appeal (Square Plate)
    • Recipe Cost Analysis
    • Recipe Nutritional Analysis
    • Rubric for Iron Chef Classroom Challenge
    • Standards of Measurement

    Files for downloading:

  • Writing Strategies

    Journal Entries:

    • My favorite Food Network show is …..
    • I would make my appetizer/entree/dessert unique by …..
    • A secret ingredient I would like to us in my entry is ….

    Writing Strategies:

    • RAFT writing strategy
      • Role – Cotestant
      • Audience – Executive Chef
      • Format – letter
      • Topic – Judging the challenge compeition
  • Communication 90 Second Speech Topics

    • If I owned a restaurant, I would serve ……
    • The steps to making a delicious entree begins with …..
  • Other Essential Lesson Components

    Enrichment activity

    Students can research various recipes using the secret ingredient and time constraints. Creating new recipes and keeping up with current trends will inspire challenges and imagination.

    • This competition can also be used as an end of course project.
    • This competition may also be used to compete against cross town schools to publicize the skills and techniques the students have learned.

    Practicum in Culinary Arts Math Assessment Problem #2

    (2) The student develops skills for success in the workplace. The student is expected to: (H) prioritize work to fulfill responsibilities and meet deadlines.

    Question 2. Marlin needs to get 300 hours of experience in a restaurant this semester. The Okay Café tells Marlin that he could work for them from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM Monday through Thursday. At this rate how many weeks will it take to complete his 300 hours?
    a. 18 weeks
    b. 38 weeks
    c. 85 weeks
    d. 150 weeks

  • Family/Community Connection

    Invite member of the community to observe and judge the competition, for example, pastry chefs from local bakeries or restaurants, restaurant managers, and local culinary school instructors.

    The event can be held as part of a Parent Night or PTSO/PTSA meeting.

  • CTSO connection

    Family, Career and Community Leaders of America

    • Culinary Arts – A team event – recognizes participants enrolled in occupational culinary arts/food service training programs for their ability to work as members of a team to produce a quality meal using industrial culinary arts/food service techniques and equipment.
    • Food Innovations An individual or team event – recognizes participants who demonstrate knowledge of the basic concepts of food product development by creating an original prototype formula, testing the product through focus groups, and developing a marketing strategy.

    Skills USA

    • Commercial Baking
      Challenges contestants to meet production and quality standards expected by industry. Students must scale, mix, prepare and bake six products (including breads, rolls, Danish, cookies and pies) and demonstrate cake-decorating skills. They must deliver a quality, salable product while working efficiently and under job-like conditions.
    • Culinary Arts
      The competition will encompass both hot and cold food preparation and presentation. Contestants will demonstrate their knowledge and skills through the production of a four-course menu in a full day competition. The contestants will be rated on their organization, knife skills, cooking techniques, creative presentation, sanitation food safety techniques, and above all, the quality and flavor of their prepared items. The high school competitors will work from one menu with standardized recipes. The college/postsecondary students will work from a market basket format and write their own menu and recipes the night before the competition.
    • Restaurant Service (formerly Food and Beverage Service)
      Contestants are tested on skills required in the “front of the house” of a fine restaurant. The focus is on guest service and guest relations in the dining room including: table set up; greeting guests; reservations procedures; presentation of menus; description of food, drinks, soups and specials of the day; taking orders; serving each course and clearing the table after each course; and preparation and presentation of the check and closing remarks. Contestants are judged on personal appearance, tableside manner, professionalism, ease with guests, courtesy, general knowledge and technical and verbal skills.

  • Service Learning Projects

    Successful service learning project ideas originate from student concerns and needs. Allow students to brainstorm about service projects pertaining to lesson. For additional information on service learning see


    • Food for Friends
      Created to provide food and specifically peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the hungry in our society.
    • Food Fundamentals
      Brings together information in food science, food safety, food economics and nutrition in the classroom.
    • Food for the Homeless: A Replication Guide for School-Based Service-Learning
      Offers day-by-day lesson plans for replicating a model service-learning program in feeding homeless people.
  • All Attachments