Photos by Valerie Urbanik | Civitas Media
Sam Kirksey of Avon Lake and Gianna Suglia of Firelands prepare their team’s dessert plate.
The first day of school was far from dull Monday at the Lorain County JVS as culinary students competed in a cook-off to test their skills and ability to work in teams.
Teacher Alyssa Rose came up with the idea after watching the Food Network show “Chopped.”
She paired nearly 67 first-time chefs with seniors, tasking groups to create entree and dessert plates in a 45-minute window with only the ingredients provided.
“They’re taking ingredients from a mystery basket,” Rose said. “They’re creating whatever their hearts desire.”
Teams were surprised with a spread of ingredients and chose which to use: chicken or steak, butter, heavy cream, eggs, a variety of fruits and vegetables, fresh herbs, dry ingredients, pastry cream, and chocolate mouse.
Rose said she thought this was the perfect idea for the first day of school because the students want to dive right into their studies.
“This is a good way to get going,” she said.
Some of the students had never cooked before and others had only a little experience.
Each plate was graded on presentation, technique, and flavor.
Judges Bill Elliott (career services specialist) and Tina Salyer (marketing and communications specialist) were eager to taste test. “My palate is ready,” Elliott said, examining each dish.
Pastry teacher Chris Moore said he thought the students did well using the ingredients that were available.
“The creativity was really nice to see,” he said. “It was nice to see the seniors step up. They were very patient with the new students and gave good instructions.”
“I’m really impressed with what they did,” Rose said of each dish and the inaugural cook-off.
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.