LAST April Naracoorte's Independent Learning Centre had big plans to get local youth involved in the community.
It hosted the inaugural Community Cooking Challenge, which was such a success that it received the Australia Day community event of the year award.
The challenge was a Masterchef-style contest involving a number of local groups, including five football clubs.
Each cooked a three course meal for paying guests who judged their dishes on presentation and taste.
Campus manager Tammy Schinckel said it was great to be recognised because the ILC put on a lot of events throughout the year.
"I was excited, ecstatic really, surprised too," she said.
"It was great because there were so many aspects of the community involved.
"It was a nice lead in to this year and shows that people feel we are a worthwhile resource.
"I'm not too sure how the award came about but I'm very thankful to whoever thought of us and nominated."
Masterchef 2010 runner-up and All Stars winner Callum Hann visited a group of Naracoorte High School and ILC students for a workshop before the evening event.
Under his guidance the ILC team served the judges mini beef bourguignon pot pies with home-made tomato relish and a broken heart chocolate pudding with mocha sauce, which landed them in fourth place.
Mrs Schinckel said it taught the students they could be an active member of the community without having to play a sport.
"The benefit to the ILC and Naracoorte High School kids was huge," she said.
"For people that don't play sport it was an opportunity for them to be involved in a community group without intimidation.
"It also taught them that life is as much about giving as it is about taking."
Furthermore, the challenge raised awareness and support for Naracoorte's Community Care Network - a service which works through Uniting Church and Saint Vincent de Paul to provide food vouchers to people who are struggling financially.
A total of $800 was raised on the night from ticket sales.