Mercer County

Mercer County

Where your future
is in your hands.


Junior Culinary Arts Mystery Box Challenge

Calling all 7th and 8th grade chefs!




Mystery Box

  • Contestants must make 2 identical plates of an appetizer and 2 identical plates of an entrée
  • Contestants will have 30 min. of introduction, safety and kitchen orientation
  • Contestants will have 60 min. to produce the 2 identical plates of their appetizer. Any time not utilized during the 60 min. for the appetizer may then be rolled in to the entrée time.
  • Contestants will have 60 min. to produce the 2 identical plates of their entree.
  • Contestants will have 30 min. to clean their equipment and stations.


  • Contestants must be current 7th or 8th grade Mercer County students
  • Contestants must be able to use knives and work with raw meat products
  • Contestants must be able to work with open flame and commercial oven
  • Contestants must be able to understand the safety procedures that will be taught that day by the judges and coordinators.
  • Contestants must have parent or guardian or person who takes responsibility and is present for the entire contest.


Kitchens are inherently dangerous because of open flame, hot surfaces, knives sharp objects and wet slippery floors. The contestant and guardian must be aware of these dangers. (SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS WILL BE GIVEN AND THE CONTEST MONITORED.  THE CONTESTANT MUST BE RESPONSIBLE AND IN CONTROL AT ALL TIMES.)


Contestants will have:

  • All equipment necessary to complete the challenge but they may bring their own equipment or knives if they would like to. (no electric or battery powered equipment will be allowed. No fixed blade knives such as mandolins, slap choppers or cutting devices where the food is moved through the blade to achieve the cut)
  • The box will contain at least 1 raw protein (meat, fish or poultry) that will have to be cut or butchered.
  • The box will also contain vegetables and starches along with an extensive pantry of seasoning, herbs, basic dry goods staples (flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda etc.)
  • The participants will also be challenged to include two mystery ingredients that must be incorporated into the dish.


Mercer County Technical Schools – Arthur R. Sypek Center

129 Bull Run Road, Pennington, NJ 08534


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HIB Contacts

To report an incident of Harrassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB), please contact a specialist below.

District Anti-Bullying Coordinator

Doug Shunk or 609-586-5144, Ext. 2146


Back-Up Coordinator

David Lugo or 609-737-9785, Ext. 4012


District Specialist

Dana HiceDePugh or 609-438-0109


Adult Evening School Specialist

Mary Smith-Jones or 609-586-5146


Assunpink Center Specialist

Megan Ferdetta or 609-586-5144, Ext. 2140


Health Careers Center Specialist

Sharon Nemeth or 609-586-5144


STEM Academy/Career Prep Specialist

Marcie Tandy or 609-570-3406


Sypek Center Specialist

Lance Simek or 609-737-9785, Ext. 4140

Accredited by Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools