Food Challenge

The FSHN Food Contest is divided into four categories, one for each of the concentrations in the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, within the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois.

The contest is only for fall 2021 admitted students. Admitted students submit one contest entry and the entry must be submitted to their admitted concentration food category. 

All entries must be submitted on the online form at by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on March 24, 2021.


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Dietetics - Tasty Low or No Food

  • Entries must include a photo, clearly written recipe*, and less than 150-word description of a product meeting ONE of the following criteria: 
    • Low calorie (40 calories or less per serving)
    • Low fat (3 grams or less per serving)
    • Low sodium (140 mg or less per serving)
    • No added sugars (no sugar or sugar-containing ingredient added during the processing or packing of the food).
  • Entries must include a nutrition analysis of the overall recipe highlighting the “low” or “no” section.  The nutrient analysis of the recipe can be completed on any online or app calculator.
  • Entries will be judged for clarity of the recipe, must meet one of the above “low or no” conditions per the provided nutrient analysis of the recipe, and must be perceived as tasty by the judge.


Dawn Jackson-Blatner
Consultant Dietitian - Cubs, TV personality

Dawn Jackson-Blatner portraitDawn Jackson Blatner is a registered dietitian and certified specialist in sports dietetics. Dawn is the nutrition consultant for the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, a food and nutrition blogger with Huffington Post, and a nutrition expert on the advisory board of SHAPE Magazine. She is the author of two award-winning books: The Flexitarian Diet, ranked a top plant-based diet by US News & World Report and The Superfood Swap. Dawn recently starred in (and WON!) the hit primetime ABC television show called, My Diet Is Better Than Yours.

Dawn received Lifetime Television’s “Remarkable Woman Award” for her work in the field of nutrition and has over 15 years experience working with clients to super-charge their health. She is the creator of the Nutrition WOW blog & weekly eblast, which just got ranked top nutrition blog by Health magazine. She is a trusted expert appearing regularly in local and national media outlets such as The Today Show and Good Morning America Health and she creates recipes for national publications such as Vegetarian Times, Yoga Journal and Fitness Magazine. Dawn has worked as the dietitian for Lifetime Television, Wild Oats healthfood store, The Chopping Block cooking school, exclusive beauty spas, DePaul University and Northwestern Memorial Hospital Wellness Institute. She was a national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics for 9 years.


Food Science - 2 Weeks on the Shelf

  • Entries must include a photo, clearly written recipe*, and less than 150-word description of the product including your inspiration for creating it and why you believe it will be shelf-stable for two weeks.
  • Entries will be judged for clarity of recipe, uniqueness, and likelihood of remaining edible for two weeks.


Allison Leibovich
Technical Account Manager (starches, sweeteners, and texturizers) - Cargill

Allison Leibovich portraitAllison Leibovich is a Technical Account Manager at Cargill on Starches, Sweeteners and Texturizers. She travels to work with food and beverage product developers to solve their formulation and processing challenges. Having immersed herself in cross-functional roles from research and development, project management, to marketing, Allison knows what it takes to launch new products in the market – from initial concept, to plant start-up, to coordinating new packaging, to educating the end consumer. Each experience along her journey has added skills to her Illini toolbox. A proverbial learner, Allison enjoys practicing yoga, devouring books on philosophy, and hiking in the hills of Los Angeles.

Allison holds a MS in Food Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and BS in Food Science from Iowa State University.


Hospitality Management - From Plate to Pixel

  • Entries must include a clearly written recipe*, a well-styled photo of the food created using the recipe, and less than 150-word description explaining how you prepared your food for presentation.
  • Entries will be judged for clarity of recipe (see below) and photo presentation of finished product.


Chef Matthew Farrell
University of Illinois Hospitality Management Alum, Executive Chef – American Airlines at GateGroup

Allison Leibovich portraitMatthew Farrell is a young gastronomic talent with 10 years’ experience working in various aspects of the culinary industry. 

Raised outside Chicago, Matt’s culinary style is driven by modern American cuisine, with a foundation of classic French technique which he trained and developed at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone located in Napa Valley, California. With an additional degree in Food Science and Human Nutrition from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Matt fuses technical methods into his innovative design. His new American style is greatly influenced from his time at various Michelin starred farm-to-table restaurants across the country including The Inn at Little Washington. 

Matt joined Gate Gourmet in 2013 as the Executive Chef at their Chicago O’hare Airport catering facility – one of American Airlines’ key hub locations – where he successfully led the culinary team as well as collaborated with Gate’s larger menu design efforts for their global markets. Most recently, Matt was named the Customer Dedicated Executive Chef to American Airlines for gategroup. Through this role, he has global responsibilities for all American Airlines catering operations and culinary innovation related to this strategic account. 

Matt enjoys discovering contemporary restaurants, seeking new ingredients on his travels across the globe, and translating them into his unique culinary philosophy. 


Human Nutrition - Healthy eating on a budget challenge

  • Entries must include a photo and clearly written recipe* for a food product that is healthy and costs less than $2.60 per serving. Include a less than 150-word description of product including a discussion of how the product meets the challenge of eating healthy on a budget.
  • The entry must include a nutrient analysis of the recipe, which can be completed on any online or app calculator.
  • Entries will be judged for an engaging description of the food’s significance, clarity of the recipe, and presentation of the finished product.


Honor Millette
Dietary Assistant at Eating Recovery Center

Honor MilletteHonor graduated from UIUC with many unique experiences diversifying her resume and preparing her for her current position as a Dietary Assistant at a residential care facility focusing on disordered eating. She shared “from the fundamental concepts in nutrition to the specialized experience as an intern working with NCAA athletes, I learned a great deal. And, my advisor helped me map out steps to help me reach my goals.” Even after graduation, Honor continues to partner with her Human Nutrition advisor as she applies to earn a Master’s of Nursing continuing to work with her passions and towards more advanced goals in the health professions.


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 *A clearly written recipe will include:

  1. Recipe Title
  2. List of ingredients with quantities
  3. Step-by-step instructions
  4. Number of servings


Each product must feature at least one of the three provided flour ingredients:

  • Soft Red Winter Wheat
  • Illinois Blue Corn
  • White Long Grain Fancy Rice

Flour is provided by Illinois Sustainable Food Project.


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All entries must be submitted on the online form at by 11:59 p.m. Central Time on March 24, 2021. No late entries will be accepted. If you cannot submit your entry through the online web form, please contact the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition (217) 244-4498 or to discuss an alternate option for submitting your entry.  Unless an exception is granted, hand-delivery or submission of entries via other electronic means is not permissible.

On Thursday, April 1, 2021, four first place scholarship winners (one per concentration) and four second place scholarship winners (one per concentration) and one overall winner will be chosen and notified via Facebook, email and phone number on their application!


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Official Rules of the FSHN Food Challenge


Eligibility: FSHN Food Challenge is open only to FSHN students admitted for fall 2021 who are legal residents of the United States of America or the District of Columbia and who are at least 18 years of age. Contest may be entered only from and in eligible jurisdictions.

All potential winners are subject to eligibility verification before any scholarship will be awarded. Contest is subject to all applicable laws. Void where prohibited. Submission of an entry constitutes the entrant’s full and unconditional agreement to these Official Rules.

Contest Entities’ decisions are final and binding in all matters related to the Contest. Winning a scholarship contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein. 

Administrator and Sponsor

Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, 260 Bevier Hall, 905 S. Goodwin, Urbana, IL  61801
Administrator and Sponsor are collectively referred to as “Contest Entities.”


The Contest period begins at 12:00 p.m. Central Time on March 3, 2021 and ends at 11:59 p.m. Central Time on March 24, 2021. Administrator’s clock is the official timekeeping device of the Contest. Administrator reserves the right to reopen or extend the Contest as it deems necessary in its sole discretion.

How to Enter

Using the ingredients sent via mail to the admitted student’s home address on record, bake or cook within your concentration’s guidelines.

For All Entries

Only one entry is allowed per student. If a student submits more than one entry, the first received will be accepted if it meets all Contest requirements. Posts that contain inflammatory imagery or foul language will be disqualified. All entries become the property of the Sponsor and will not be returned or verified.


Four first-place scholarships will be awarded (one in each concentration: $1000 each). Four second-place scholarships will be awarded (one per concentration:  $500 each). Additionally, there will be one overall scholarship recipient chosen (best of all concentrations: $1000). Redirection of scholarships is prohibited. Odds of winning a scholarship depends on the number of eligible entries received. There will be only one scholarship award per winner. Scholarship does not include any other item not specifically described in these Official Rules. Scholarship may not be transferred.  

Selection and Verification of Potential Winners

Sponsor will select a winner from all eligible entries on or around April 1, 2021. Sponsor will contact winners via Facebook, from email on application and via phone. Sponsor’s decisions as to the administration and operation of the Challenge and the selection of potential winners are final and binding in all matters related to the Challenge.

Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any participant or potential winner and may refuse to award any prize to a person who is ineligible or has violated any rule, gained unfair advantage in participating in the Challenge, or obtained winner status using fraudulent means. Potential winners must continue to comply with all terms and conditions of these Official Rules, and winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements outlined in these Official Rules.

Winners will have 72 hours to respond to Sponsor’s notification of winning. Sponsor will notify winners via Facebook, email and phone call. If no response has been received from winner within 72 hours, Sponsor will award the corresponding prize to an alternate winner from among all remaining eligible entries until the prize is awarded. All alternate potential winners are subject to all requirements set forth in these Official Rules.


Information submitted by entrants will be collected by Sponsor’s systems based in the United States, and such collection will be subject to applicable United States laws. Entrants may withdraw personal data upon request by submitting this form at ; however, entrant will be disqualified if personal data is withdrawn prior to the determination of the winner(s) for fulfillment of the prize(s). Information submitted by entrants is subject to Administrator’s privacy policy:


All entrants release Facebook, University of Illinois, and each of their respective parents, affiliates, subsidiaries, trustees, officers, directors, partners, equity holders, agents, employees, and all others associated with the development and execution of this Contest (collectively, the “Released Parties”), from any and all liability with respect to, or in any way arising from, this Contest and acceptance or use of the scholarship, including liability for personal injury, damages, death or monetary loss. Contest Entities assume no responsibility for any injury, loss or damage to entrants’ or to any other person’s computer relating to, or resulting from, entering or downloading any information or software in connection with this Contest. Contest Entities and their agents are not responsible for technical, hardware, software or telephone malfunctions of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, or late, failed, incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate, garbled or delayed electronic communications caused by the user, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or used in this Contest, or by any human or other errors that may occur in connection with this Contest.

General Rules

The Released Parties are not responsible for lost, illegible, late, delayed or misdirected mail or email or other communications, or for any error in the printing or interpretation of the offer, the administration of the challenge, or in any announcement of the winners or prizes. In no event will Contest Entities be liable for more than the stated number of awards. Awards are non-refundable and non-transferable except at sole discretion of the Sponsor. The Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel or suspend this challenge, in its entirety or in part, should tampering, unauthorized intervention, counterfeiting, fraud, technical failures, or other causes beyond Sponsor’s control corrupt the administration, security, fairness, integrity or proper play of the Contest. Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the Contest, to be acting in violation of the Rules or any laws, or to be attempting to undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest by cheating, hacking, deception, misappropriation, infringement, or any other unfair playing practices, poor sportsmanship, or intending to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any other participants or Administrator representatives.


Official Rules

For a copy of the Official Rules, mail a self-addressed stamped envelope by first-class mail to FSHN Food Challenge, Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, 260 Bevier Hall, 905 S. Goodwin, Urbana, IL  61801. Entrants may copy these Official Rules on the condition that any use will be solely for their personal use and not for any commercial purpose whatsoever.