Claiborne Parish 4-Hers Show America They Can Be Iron Chefs

Teresa Price, Coolman, Denise

Shelby Harper was one of two Claiborne Parish 4-H'ers who were taped during a Food Network segment featuring Claiborne Parish.

Claiborne Parish 4-H'er Christopher Burch prepares an alligator fettucini dish for the segment. KTBS cameraman Paul White shot the video for the show.

Claiborne Parish residents ask America "How do you Iron Chef?" at the end of the taping of the local segment featuring two 4-H'ers.

News Release Distributed 02/10/06

HOMER – Two members of the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H program will show America they can be "Iron Chefs” when a show featuring the teens cooking alligator dishes airs on the Food Network Feb. 28.

Claiborne Parish 4-H'ers Christopher Burch and Shelby Harper, students at Haynesville High School, were taped Saturday (Feb. 4) cooking alligator salad, alligator fettucini, alligator puppies, Claiborne gator Creole, gator maquechoux and gator on a stick.

Both Burch and Harper said they enjoy everything about being in 4-H, including learning beneficial life skills.

“I love cooking,” Burch said. “By being in 4-H, I have not only learned how to cook, but I’ve also learned about diet and nutrition and about how important it is to eat the proper amounts and types of food.”

Harper, who also expressed a love for cooking, said she plans to follow a career in the food industry when she becomes an adult. Burch plans to pursue a career in forensic science.

“4-H is an excellent organization for young people to belong to,” Harper said. “By being in 4-H, I have learned a lot about food and the food industry. This has helped me in making my career plans.”

Teresa Price, an LSU AgCenter 4-H agent in Claiborne Parish, said experiences such as the ones Burch and Harper have gotten by being taped for the show on the Food Network are just some of the many benefits young people get by being in 4-H.

“Young people can also learn leadership skills and the importance of community involvement, as well as workplace skills, by being in 4-H,” Price said. “4-H is a very positive organization young people can belong to.”

Tim Smyth, a senior writer and producer for Food Network, agrees 4-H is a good organization for young people to join. Smyth, who now lives in New York, was in 4-H when he was young and growing up on a dairy farm in Connecticut.

“My family was always in 4-H,” Smyth said. “I enjoyed being in 4-H. I learned how to take on things I may not have otherwise been able to do had I not been in 4-H.”

Talent shows were what caught Smyth’s attention as a 4-H member. He said he was always competing and even won at times. Being in talent shows helped give Smyth the confidence he needed to perform in front of crowds. Today, he works in broadcast media.

Smyth and a camera/sound crew, Paul White and Sid Shirer from KTBS TV-3 in Shreveport, shot Burch and Harper cooking their dishes at Calvary Baptist Church in Homer for the Food Network show, "Iron Chef America." The show will air Feb. 28.

Both Burch and Harper cooked dishes with alligator as the “secret ingredient.” A contest was held, and although all dishes were deemed delicious, a panel of four local judges declared Harper the winner. A similar contest was held Jan. 30, during the KTBS morning news segment with reporter Rick Rowe judging. Dishes cooked by both Burch and Harper won in the Monday contest.

4-H is the youth development and outreach program administered by the nation’s land-grant universities. Terril Faul, head of the LSU AgCenter’s 4-H and Youth Development Department, said the program promotes "learning by doing" and the development of leadership skills that will benefit youth as they grow into the adults of the future.

For more information about the 4-H program in Louisiana, which is operated by the LSU AgCenter, contact your parish LSU AgCenter Extension office or go to and click on the 4-H link.

Click here to see more pictures of these youngsters.


Contact:     Teresa Price at (318) 927-3110  or

Writer: Denise Coolman at (318) 644-5865 or

2/11/2006 4:03:48 AM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture