As previously reported by Local Profile, six North Texas students competed in the tailgate-themed culinary competition, Taste of the Cowboys Youth Challenge. The coveted prize included a $10,000 grant for the winning student's school’s culinary program as well as the opportunity to serve their award-winning dish at the Dallas Cowboys’ home opener game.
On Apr. 20, 2023, Frisco High School announced in a Facebook post that Culinary Arts senior student Shaniya Hopkins was part of the winning team. The team had less than two hours to prepare an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert — and they came up with a mouthwatering combo: For the entrée, they created “Elotes Chicken Leg”, for dessert, “Cheesecake Napoleon” with Tanghulu fruit and the star of the event was their “Touchdown Taco Bites”, which they served at the game.
"It's a taco bite on a bed of homemade cheese sauce," Hopkins told CBS News about her award-winning dish. "There's a mini taco with ground beef and refried beans inside."
According to CBS News, the appetizers sold out before the end of halftime.
In addition to providing aspiring culinary school students with a real-life hands-on experience ahead of college, the annual Iron Chef and Chopped-inspired competition is a partnership between the Dallas Cowboys Taste of the Cowboys and the North Texas Food Bank (NTFB). Since its creation, the partnership raised over $4.5 million and provided more than 13 million meals for food-insecure children in the local community.
To highlight the need for dairy items at the food bank, the students had to create their dishes using ingredients commonly donated to the NTFB plus a mystery basket of surprise ingredients.
While only one school took the grant home, all students received a gift card from Albertsons Tom Thumb to use in stocking their own school's kitchens. Additionally, students from Lewisville ISD who came second in the competition were also granted the opportunity to serve up their own chicken fajita cones dish at the Dallas Cowboys’ home opener game on Sunday.