2021 Student Cooking Competition Winner

Alicia Montgomery is the official winner of the 2021 Online Student Cooking Competition hosted by Lighthouse Foundation.

For the last 2 years Lighthouse Foundation and there signature program Lighthouse Development Institute has put on an online student cooking competition for students to do the following:

  1. Learn how to create their own budget,

  2. Go to the grocery store independently by themselves,

  3. Finally come home to prepare a delicious meal to be judge for a winner-take-all event that includes cash prizes.

“Alicia cooked something that was easy to make, didn't take alot of time, and you can make this at home with your family. You can even make a vegetarian dish out of it as well. Kudos for her dish and all the students who competed" Guest Cooking Judge

The Process: Online Student Cooking Competition

Here at Lighthouse Development Institute we like to create building blocks for our students taking basic concepts and applying life skills to them as part of the program. So one of the Life Skills Session class was teaching students how to do their own budget that included income, expenses, budget decisions, and even how to open up their own bank account.

We took it another step forward by now applying budget to a Life Skill of going to the grocery store. Like most students, at some point in time, parents have their children with accompany them to the grocery store. In most cases to push the basket or get items off the shelf. But we wanted to show students that in order to master basic life skills you not only have to pay attention to what you're buying. But also understand have enough money to purchase the items before the final checkout.

Therefore, student had until 4:00pm on Saturday to put their budget together from what they learned in the Life Skills Sessions. Write down the ingredients for their meal and not go over their budget by any means necessary. Go into the grocery store and purchase the items. And they had to do this by themselves with no parent supervision whatsoever. Then at 5:00pm all students had to be online through the Zoom app preparing their meal. They had 1 hour to complete the cooking task. By which they were judged on originality, presentation, and taste. They would be given a judge to give them the proper scores.

All together we had 4 students cooking online while the judges watching online. One cooking at her home in Cedar Hill. While the other 3 were cooking in another home. Once the final bell came on to stop. The judges made their final selection by which it came down to a very slim margin of 3 points separating 2nd from 3rd. First place won by a lead 10 points.

The winner Ms. Alicia Montgomery received $50. Second place received $30. And 3rd place received $20.

Skillet Beef & Maroni


1-1/2 pound ground beef 1 cup of water

1/2 cup chopped onion 1 package (7 ounces) macaroni shells

2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce 1/2 chopped green pepper

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 1 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon pepper

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook beef and onion until the meat is no longer pink; crumble meat; drain. Stir in rest of ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until macaroni is tender, 20-25 minutes; stir occasionally. Add water if needed.

Get Inspired

The Online Student Cooking Competition allows students to show their best in the culinary world. Whether they live in Dallas, Austin, Houston, or Denver. This is a good opportunity for your student to learn and even get some feedback on their style of cooking. This is all part of the Lighthouse Development Institute Program. You can sign up your student now.

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