Students cook up competition
Shawn Heinz had only an hour Friday afternoon to prepare a potato cake napoleon with standing shrimp in white wine sauce.
“It felt like the Iron Chef in there,” said Heinz, 18. “There were four people trying to work at one table and it was very time unfriendly.”
As part of the final exam in advanced culinary arts at Carson High School, Heinz and his classmates divided into teams of four to compete in a one-hour contest in which they had to prepare a main dish, an appetizer and a dessert.
For Heinz, it all worked out in the end.
“It turned out great,” he said. “I’m very pleased.”
The top two from Friday’s competition of 22 teams will be named Tuesday. They will compete in the regional Pro Start competition in Las Vegas in March.
The winner from there will go on to compete nationally in April in Denver, where thousands of dollars worth of scholarships will be available.
The competition served as a good training ground for Jeff Hurzel, 16, who plans to pursue a profession in the restaurant industry.
“My dad owns a restaurant so I grew up around cooking,” he said. “This is a great opportunity.”
He made a raspberry tart for his dessert.
“The taste of raspberry compliments the rack of lamb,” he explained.
Brittany Harris, 17, aspires to become a a celebrity house chef.
And Allison Andronaco, a recruiter for Johnson & Wales University, which specializes in culinary arts, said the students have a good chance of realizing their goals.
“I think they are very well prepared,” she said. “This is probably the best program I’ve seen. I think they have pretty much what it takes.
“These kids are way beyond their years.”
Even students who are not interested in a career in the food industry, value the skill learned in the culinary arts class.
Steven Caloiaro, 16, wants to be a lawyer, but will continue to cook.
“I will always keep it as a hobby,” he said. “It’s a good way to get a girl — make her dinner.”