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Cooking Challenge

This challenge is part of SCU’s Fall 2020 tUrn Week, which will take place October 12th through 16th (Week 4). 

Your challenge is to create a meal that aligns with values related to sustainable cooking, either by creating your own recipe or using one that already exists. There will be four separate cooking challenges that you can participate in, each emphasizing a different value. You are welcome to participate in as many challenges as you would like, but you must submit a different recipe for each challenge you choose to participate in. Each challenge will be featured during one day of tUrn Week, when information about the sustainability components of the challenge will be shared on our social media channels. One winner will be chosen for each of the four challenges.

On Friday of tUrn Week, we will host a presentation announcing the winners and highlighting all of the recipe submissions that we receive.

In hopes of providing as much time to plan and cook as possible, you are welcome to begin cooking your recipe as early as Week 1 of the Fall Quarter. If you do choose to cook your meal prior to tUrn Week, please be sure to take a photo of the meal and write down anything you may need to remember, because you will only be able to submit your recipe during tUrn Week.

Submit your recipes! Deadline to submit is Thursday, October 15th at 10 pm (PST).

Criteria for Winning Recipe Submissions:

  • How well you meet the challenge theme
  • How tasty your meal looks (food photography skills are encouraged!)
  • Overall effort and creativity


  • Challenge Details

    Monday | Local Cooking Challenge
    Often, our food travels hundreds of miles to reach us, which means that significant transportation emissions and food waste from spoilage are created in the process. Eating local helps to reduce transportation emissions and food waste, improve the freshness of food consumed, and support our local businesses and economies. The goal of this challenge is to use as many local ingredients as possible. This involves using ingredients that are in-season for your location and are produced and sold by local farmers. We encourage you to shop at a local farmers market if possible; you can use this website to look for one near you. Bonus points if you can name the farms where your food was grown!

  • Tuesday | Plant-Based Cooking Challenge:
    Did you know that livestock production contributes more to greenhouse gas emissions than all global transportation? (Scientific American) Following a plant-based diet has numerous benefits for your health and for the environment. We challenge you to create a meal using no animal products! It is perfectly acceptable to use meat substitutes, such as vegan sausage or veggie burgers, but we encourage you to try to create a meal from scratch - i.e. using fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, etc.

  • Wednesday | Zero-Waste Cooking Challenge:
    An estimated 30-40% of food produced in the United States is wasted each year (USDA). Additionally, containers and packaging make up about 23% of landfill input (EPA). Much of this waste comes from our food suppliers, such as grocery stores and restaurants, but it is still important to take actions to reduce our personal waste. For today’s challenge, the goal is to reduce as much waste as possible in the preparation of your meal. This could mean purchasing ingredients that are not packaged in plastic (while still being mindful of COVID-19 safety measures), using produce from a home garden, or attempting to use the entire fruit or vegetable in the meal.

  • Thursday | Cultural Celebration Cooking Challenge:
    For the final challenge, we encourage you to prepare a meal that is significant to your family, your community, or your culture. Traditional cooking is an important component of our identity and traditions, and we want to celebrate the many unique identities that make up our larger Santa Clara community. Traditional cooking is impactful for maintaining proper nutrition and supporting overall well-being, as well as connecting generations. Some of us are currently unable to practice culturally-relevant cooking traditions, perhaps due to migration, costs, or availability. As you prepare this meal, we encourage reflection on issues of food accessibility, food justice, and continuity of intergenerational traditions.

  • Key Dates:

    • Monday, September 21st: you can get started cooking as early as Week 1!
    • Monday, October 12th: recipe submission form opens at 8 AM PT
    • Thursday, October 15th: recipe submission form closes; all recipe submissions
      are due at 10 PM PT
    • Friday, October 16th: winners will be announced and highlights will be
      presented at 4 PM PT; RSVP to the event here!
Submit Recipes