The FSHN Food Challenge 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 2023 admitted students. Admitted students submit one contest entry and the entry must be submitted to their admitted concentration food category. Read about the descriptions of the challenges below, and see the rules for and the deadlines for the current academic year. 

The 4th Annual FSHN Food Challenge for admitted freshmen is open!
Each product entry must feature at least one of three flour ingredients provided by Illinois Sustainable Food Project.

Congratulations to all the 2022 FSHN Food Challenge Scholarship Winners!


Hospitality Management Theme: “From Plate to Pixel

Food Science theme: “2 Weeks on the Shelf
Madeline Shick  Crisp Spiced Cookies
Paige Chew  Malaysian Red Bean Tarts
Yashna Chokkarapu  Homely Biscuits
Ethan Delk  Braided Chocolate Cherry Pull Apart Bread
Eric Fan  Chocolate Senbei Rice Crackers
Oluwafeyikemi Ogunleye  Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies
Nastassia Thompson  Cranberry Scones with Orange Glaze
Brittany Wydra  Gluten-free Spiced Apple Walnut Scones



Dietetics theme: “Tasty No or Low Food
Sarah Tauber  Triple Berry Lemon Zest Crepes
Grace Schmitz  Spicy Harvest Mini Muffins
Annamarie Zlatic  Hail to the Blue Corn Muffins

Human Nutrition theme: “Healthy Eating on a Budget
Zoe Boileau  Veggie Pizza Cups



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.
Portrait of Dawn Jackson Blatner

Judge: Dawn Jackson-Blatner

Consultant Dietitian - Cubs, TV personality

Dawn 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.
Portrait of Allison Leibovich

Judge: Allison Leibovich

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

Allison 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.
Portrait of Matthew Farrell

Judge: Chef Matthew Farrell

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

Matthew 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.
Portrait of Honor Millette

Judge: Honor Millette

Dietary Assistant at Eating Recovery Center

Honor 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.