District 518 Column: WHS culinary skills team competes in cooking, cutting and cake decorating
This year is ending with the advanced culinary students preparing for the Schwan’s Culinary Skills Challenge held on April 19 in Marshall.
The Family and Consumer Science Department at Worthington High School has experienced some exciting changes this year.
Ms. Zins joined Mrs. Bents and together they were able to accommodate twice as many students enrolled in the various classes offered by the department.
An additional change was a much-needed replacement of the fragile, old cupboards and countertops in the Culinary Lab. The work was finished during the first term of this year. There will be a bit more electrical work and painting completed over the summer, but the students have enjoyed working in the updated lab.
This year is ending with the advanced culinary students preparing for the Schwan’s Culinary Skills Challenge held on April 19 in Marshall. The cooking team is challenged with preparing and plating two identical plates of an Asian meal. They have been experimenting with different flavors and working as a team to prepare for this day.
The competition is set up using two tables and two butane burners in the middle of the Southwest Minnesota State University gym. Timing to finish at the end of the hour is critical, along with keeping all the food hot to present to the judges.
Scholarships to the SMSU Culinology program are awarded to the top three teams.
More competitions involve other skills involved in food service. Cake decorating is always a favorite as students have an hour to frost and use a variety of decorator tips for a competitive design. There will be two students creating their own fruit/vegetable sculptures. The baking science competition involves taking a basic recipe that is provided and altering it to make it more nutritious. The students have been experimenting with various ingredients and recording their results.
“Board Games” is a theme for students to create a tablescape and choose a napkin fold that matches their game. The creative napkin fold will be demonstrated in front of the judge. Rules must be followed when creating a menu for a restaurant, and the students competing in the menu design event develop a menu that fits the theme, with well written descriptions of their chosen entrees, appetizers, sides, desserts and other items they choose to include. Knife skills are performed in front of a judge on accurate cuts showing the julienne, batonnet, brunoise or medium dice.
The students are busy preparing for the contest, and it is fun to know they are willing to participate.
During the day they will also be attending food workshops to learn more about the careers and trends in the food industry. The list has many choices to choose from including the following: Cooking with Maple Syrup, Spring Rolls, Smoked Pizza, Hmong Stir Fry, tru Shrimp, New Orleans Beignets, The Science of a Brat, Growing Sprouts, Butchering a Pig, Omelets, and a tour of the SMSU Culinology Labs.
The Keynote Speaker will be Chef John Sugimura, a Japanese-American corporate executive chef, brand ambassador and restaurant owner.
It has been an exciting event to attend and there are many details that the students will be involved with.