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ICA High School Culinary Invitational

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ICA High School Culinary Invitational

Unfortunately, the 2022 High School Invitational has been cancelled.

About the Invitational

The Institute for the Culinary Arts at Metropolitan Community College is proud to announce the ICA High School Culinary Invitational to be held Feb. 27, 2020 at the Institute for the Culinary Arts on the Fort Omaha Campus, 32nd Street and Sorensen Parkway (directions).

The ICA Invitational showcases the culinary and academic talents of high school students within a 100-mile radius. The invitational is supported by the students and faculty of MCC, ICA and leaders in the food service and hospitality industry.

The highlight of the ICA Invitational is the area's best young people participating in a team culinary skills competition. Any high school team is eligible to qualify for this exciting competition. Your school does not need to be affiliated with any program to participate. The competition will help prepare students for other professional culinary competitions, such as ProStart and SkillsUSA.

The Philosophy of the Invitational

  • Provide a format for high school culinary arts students to prepare for other professional culinary competitions.
  • Recognize students for excellence and team participation.
  • Involve the industry in directly evaluating student performance.
  • Showcase the outstanding Culinary Arts program at MCC, which trains students in relevant skills preparing them for careers in the food service and hospitality industry.

ICA Student Mentor Program

The ICA student mentor program has been developed to support the participating high school teams in the culinary skills competition. The ICA students will report to a faculty member of the Institute for the Culinary Arts at MCC. Scheduled training and coaching for the ICA student mentors will be conducted weekly and will be a forum for communicating and answering questions regarding the teams’ development.

Mentor-Ambassador Handbook 2020
Mentor-Ambassador Log Sheet (doc)
Mentor-Ambassador Log Sheet (pdf)


Location, Calendar and Agenda

ICA High School Culinary Invitational

Fort Omaha Campus, 32nd Street and Sorensen Parkway (directions)
Institute for the Culinary Arts, Swanson Conference Center, Building 22
Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, NE

Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Snow date: Feb. 28, 2020, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Event Calendar

Date Location Activity Who
Nov. 13, 2019
4:30–5:30 p.m.
MCC Fort Omaha Campus,
ICA, room 201 C & D
Teachers' meeting All interested teachers
Dec. 9, 2019 N/A Due: Intent to Participate form Interested teams
Dec. 10, 2019
10 a.m.
or 3:30 p.m.
ICA Lobby Mentor orientation ICA students
Jan. 13, 2020 N/a Due: Registration Form & $25 participation fee Teachers
Feb. 3, 2020 MCC Fort Omaha Campus,
ICA event coordinators
Due: Dish Requirement Sheet Teachers
Feb. 24, 2020
5 p.m.
MCC Fort Omaha Campus, ICA event coordinators Due: Hold Harmless Agreement for all students participating; all paperwork for culinary  competition Teachers
Feb. 27, 2020
8 a.m.
MCC Fort Omaha Campus, ICA, Swanson Conference Center Registration
Pre-competition meeting
All teams & sponsors/teachers Mandatory
Feb. 27, 2020
9 a.m. –3 p.m.
MCC Fort Omaha Campus, ICA, Swanson Conference Center ICA Culinary Competition
All registered teams
Open to public
Feb. 27, 2020
4–5 p.m.
MCC Fort Omaha Campus, ICA, Swanson Conference Center Awards & recognitions program All teams & sponsors/teachers

What Occurs During the Competition?

The ICA Invitational is composed of the Culinary Skills Competition. Please note we are not having a Banner Competition this year.

Teams participating in the Culinary Skills Competition demonstrate their creative abilities and culinary skills through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes. Their performance during the practical session is observed and rated by judges from leading post-secondary colleges and universities, local chefs and restaurateurs.

ICA Competition Rules

2020 Culinary Competition Rules


The ICA Invitational will be able to accommodate a total of 32 teams. If more than 32 teams register, a limit of multiple teams from the same school will be enforced based on 1) the date forms are received and 2) the number of teams registering from each school. All attempts to maximize school and student participation will be made.

Registration Procedure:

  • Teams will submit their desire to participate in the Culinary Arts Invitational on the Registration Form. Team members do not have to be from the same high school; however, they must be sponsored by a high school teacher or industry mentor. Team members can be changed after submission.

  • There will be a minimal registration fee of $25 per team. This will help confirm commitment to participation in the Invitational and cover some administrative costs. The registration fee of $25 is nonrefundable, unless there are more than 32 teams preregistered and teams are eliminated. Checks should be made payable to: ICA Invitational.

  • Registration Form and $25 registration fee must be postmarked, or emailed by Jan. 13, 2020 to:
    Metropolitan Community College
    Institute for the Culinary Arts
    P.O. Box 3777
    Omaha, NE 68103-0777
    Attention: Lauren Balak

Culinary Competition Forms

Registration Form
Dish Requirement Form
Intent to Participate Form
Recipe - Costing - Menu Price - Knife Skills Worksheet
The Hold Harmless Agreement will need to be filled out for each participant in the competition. This form may be printed off and filled out and turned in with packets on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020.

Tools of the Trade

After meeting with culinary professionals, teachers and students who have participated in competitions, there are tools they have developed to help organize, document and communicate processes and procedures.

The forms listed below are for your optional use. Our hope is that you will find these tools helpful, not only for this competition, but for other events as well.

  • Budget worksheet – used as a budget tool and documentation for income sources to support participation and expenses involved in the process.

  • Dry ingredient list – a format to list all dry ingredients for the check in process.

  • Refrigerated/frozen ingredient list - a format to list all refrigerated/frozen ingredients for the check in process.

  • Timeline – use to assign/delegate tasks and communicate time requirements by task, to meet the time restraints of the competition.

All of these forms can be customized to the competition you are participating in, by simply going into View, Header & Footer, Custom Header. Then, insert the name of the competition you are entering.

Thanks for your interest and participation in the ICA Culinary Invitational. We look forward to having you be a part of this exciting event!

Sponsorship Opportunities

If your organization is interested in sponsoring the 2020 ICA High School Culinary Invitational, please contact Lauren Balak at or call 531-MCC-2321. Event sponsors from 2019 are listed below.

Thank you to our sponsors!

Founder Level Sponsor

Metropolitan Utilities District


Omaha Restaurant Association

Bronze Level Sponsor

Fayrene Hamouz - Nebraska Pro-Start


           RunzaMercer CulinaryNew Chef Fashion Inc.Omaha SteaksGood things come from Sysco                

Nebraska Beef Council                  


They say a photo is worth a thousand words. Check out these photos that capture the excitement and results of high school competitions.

Millard Public Schools
Omaha Public Schools

With questions or to request additional information, contact:

Lauren Balak: