On Saturday Jan 26, Junior Madison Hagio competed in the 2019 Oahu County 4-H Food Show: “New Year, New Me.” The Oahu 4-H Organization is a statewide program that focuses on health benefits and promoting better health lifestyles for future generations. This year they partnered with the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) in order to promote the Food Show. The program’s objectives are to focus on daily diet nutrition, emphasize nutrients in food preparation, meal management skills, consumer awareness in food safety and giving youth a chance to show what they learned and know. At this year’s competition, Hagio’s “Easy Lemon Cheesecake” took first place overall in the Senior Division.
“It’s actually a family recipe from my aunty who’s a Type 2 Diabetic and she enjoys baking and she enjoys making recipes that are more beneficial toward having less carbs and having less sugar amounts,” said Hagio. “My aunty works at — she used to work at Farrington and she is the chairperson of the organization. So since this year they were focusing on diabetes — since I’m Type 1 Diabetic, she thought it would be really beneficial for me to join.”
At the Food Show, the Senior Division, ages 14 to 19, had about 20 competitors going up against each other. These competitors were judged upon presentation, taste factor and the overall nutritional value of the dish. “It was pretty difficult. We had made three individual pies — basically testing how each recipe worked while we altered it cause some recipes we would add unflavored gelatin to it to make it harder so that it’s easier to keep its shape,” said Hagio. “So — it was kind of complicated figuring out which recipe to use but in the end we ended up figuring it out.”
Throughout the competition, there were many hardships, trials and errors. With many people cooking all at once, crowded workspaces was just one challenge that Hagio faced at the Food Show. “In the room itself, where you put your dish, there’s a counter for the senior division kids and it was really crowded ‘cause a lot of kids wanted to put flowers or candles to add to their — to add to the overall physical aspect of it,” said Hagio. “And it was kind of challenging to compete against that I guess because since I’m — this is my first year going into it, there’s other kids who have been in here — who have been in this program for four plus years, so it’s kind of hard understanding that not just the dish itself matters, it has to have the right plating and the right utensils and the right napkin folding and everything.”
Despite her hardships, Hagio was able to win her division. Her “Easy Lemon Cheesecake” also won the Chairperson’s Award and Nutrition Award. “I actually felt really good — in the moment it was really good, especially just going into it and being able to say, ‘Yeah, my first year I got the ‘Chairperson’s Award’ and the ‘Nutrition Award’ on top of the ‘Senior Division Award.’’ So it was really rewarding after having done three test trials and everything,” said Hagio.
With her eyes on next year’s competition, Hagio is determined to go into the Food Show with confidence and certainty. She also encourages others to sign up and compete as well.