VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 09, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BC's Hands-on Cook-off contest launches on April 16th with a passionate message: to inspire kids and teens to cook together and reap the lifelong benefits of sharing family meals.

Explains Sydney Massey, one of the creators of Better Together and Director of Nutrition Education at the BC Dairy Association: "No matter your age, cooking and eating together is a fantastic habit that provides long term benefits. The Hands-on Cook-off contest is our passionate reminder to families in BC to make room for this time-honoured tradition: family meals.”

According to new research, eating family meals, particularly during the teen years, can help develop highly beneficial habits that last a lifetime. These habits include having more frequent family meals, choosing healthier foods at home, eating fewer meals in front of the TV and valuing their own participation in family meals.

Now in its ninth year, the Hands-on Cook-off contest has become an annual celebration of the family dinner movement in BC. Every year, this contest rallies support from schools, parents, celebrity chefs and family-focused groups across BC. This year's panel of judges includes Paul Natrall, who launched Vancouver’s first Indigenous Food Truck - Mr. Bannock, Ceri Marsh, cookbook author and the woman behind the Sweet Potato Chronicles, Michele Phillips of What Dreams May Become, Robin Kort, Founder of BC’s Swallow Tail Culinary Tours, and Joel Barohn, chef and registered dietitian.

"I'm thrilled to be part of the Hands-on Cook-off contest. As a mother of two, I've seen first hand how important it is to make time for family meals. I love the way this contest brings a sense of fun to what can sometimes feel like a chore," says Ceri Marsh, Contest Judge, and Author of Sweet Potato Chronicles.

“Sharing a home cooked meal with your family is priceless. You know exactly what’s in your food, you can prepare it the way you like it, and spend more time together - without any devices!” Explains Contest Judge, Paul Natrall: “Cooking with my family is one of my most loved activities. We put on our favourite tunes, and let the kids have fun peeling, chopping, slicing, searing, grilling. This is how some of our best memories are made.”

Enter the Contest:
From April 16th until 12 pm PST on May 16th, any BC resident can enter the Hands-on Cook-off Contest. Videos must include two or more people preparing a recipe together - and having fun while doing so is an essential element. Videos must be no longer than three minutes in length and can be entered online here. For the first time this year, there’s an additional prize for submitting your accompanying recipe! People can enter their recipe with a photo online here for a chance to win $500!

Prizes:
Multiple cash prizes up to $1000 will be awarded in both categories to individuals and schools. Total prizes up for grabs are valued at over $4000. Full prize details can be found here.

Enter the Hands-on Cook-off here: http://www.bettertogetherbc.ca/contest/ 

About Better Together
Better Together, bettertogetherbc.ca, is an active online community forum, designed to celebrate family meals, cooking and trying new recipes. We exist because eating together, whether as a family or otherwise, offers many health and social benefits for both children and adults - including better nutrition, school performance and social adjustment. Find out more:

Instagram: @bettertogetherbc
Facebook: /bettertogetherbc
Twitter: @bettertogether
Pinterest: bbettertogether
#handsoncookoff

Contact Information
PR & SOCIAL MEDIA CONTACT
Lilian Sue
The Social Agency
lilian@thesocialagency.ca
www.thesocialagency.ca

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://resource.globenewswire.com/Resource/Download/7014b2cf-1e2a-4de1-abd5-581e03b19a51