This may sound like the menu from a fine dining
establishment, but these were actually just a few of the items whipped up by
the culinary arts students for the annual cook-off.
Teacher Crystal Telles came up with the idea for
the cook-off as a way to award scholarships to one of the advance culinary
students with Cafe Fresh.
"When the cafe started making a
profit, we had money left over at the end of the year, so I thought it
would be a good idea to reward the kids for all their hard work and help them
further their education," Mrs. Telles said. "Every year there are
several students who plan to specialize in culinary after they graduate, and
even the students who are just learning how to cook as a hobby are eligible to
apply for the scholarship."
The students are
totally responsible for the contest meal, from the menu choices and ingredient
selection to preparation and presentation.
In addition to the
hands-on aspect of the cook-off, the students have to provide their rationale
for their menu.
“I chose this recipe
because it’s one of my favorite Mexican dishes,” said. Brandon Rocha, who chose
pozole and plans to attend culinary school after graduation. “It’s simple,
traditional and flavorful.”
Students also have
to be concerned with other aspects of cooking, such as costs to prepare the
meal and the overall presentation.
“I chose my dish
because it is inexpensive,” said McKhaley Avery, who cooked hamburger casserole
with a side of broccoli and cauliflower, as well as strawberry shortcake for
dessert. “Strawberry shortcake is also very inexpensive to make, and it’s
colorful and goes well with the main course.”
One of the tasty
recipes this year came in the form of a fungus.
“I chose stuffed
mushrooms because I enjoy mushrooms, but not a lot of people I know like them,”
said Jamien Rugwiza, whose menu featured crab-stuffed mushrooms with a side of
asparagus and lemon bars. “I wanted to make them in a way that anyone would
judges are brought in to feast on the spread while ranking each entry in
regards to taste, texture, variety and appearance.
“I think it's neat
to see results of their hard work all year,” said Jason Brown, who has helped
judge the contest for several years. “It definitely blows me away that these kids
are capable of creating 5-star dining meals.”
Mr. Brown got
involved as a judge a few years ago by accident. He was a last-minute fill-in
for a judge who couldn’t make it and says now he looks forward to the cook-off.
“Every year the food gets better,” he said. “I’m
trying to make sure I get back on the judging list next year. It’s one of the
The final results
come in the form of a scholarship presentation on senior awards night. This
year’s recipient was Yenifer Torres, who prepared chicken empanadas with a side
of pico de gallo and avocado and strawberry crepes.
“I chose this recipe
because I wanted to try something new,” she said.
The results speak
for themselves as she heads to college with an additional $1,000 to help with