Montgomery, Ala. – Alabama’s top high school culinary arts students will be competing in Birmingham at the Culinard–the culinary institute of Virginia College–to earn top state awards and a possible spot to represent Alabama at the upcoming 2013 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) National Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
If you have ever watched the hit television show Iron Chef you have seen an action-packed contest, which is very similar to this Alabama FCCLA Star Event competition. It will be held from 7:30 a.m. until 12 Noon on March 2.
“Teams are made up of three students, and each student is enrolled in a culinary arts program at his or her high school,” says Judy Brown, Alabama Career and Technical Education (CTE) Specialist and Culinary Arts Coordinator. “The contest focuses on each student’s ability to use internationally accepted food preparation standards and equipment to produce a quality product.”
Every team must develop a detailed food preparation plan and must also have all dishes ready within a one-hour time frame. Current data shows the average salary for a certified “Executive Chef” exceeds more than $75,000 annually.
“This event is an excellent opportunity for Alabama’s high school students to extend their early knowledge of cooking,” says Chef Antony Osborne, Academic Dean of Culinard. “This weekend, we have 16 top student teams competing. This is a great opportunity for these students to further develop their lifelong career skills.”
Each team will be judged on planning (making time schedules, organizing their work area, obtaining needed supplies) and overall food production. Teams must successfully prepare one of the following menus (from scratch) in order to advance to the national competition in Tennessee:
• Menu 1 – Chicken Supreme with Spinach Salad and Homemade Mustard Vinaigrette Dressing
• Menu 2 – Chicken Veloute’ with Field Greens Salad and Freshly Prepared Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
• Menu 3 – Chicken Alfredo with Garden Salad and Homemade Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing
Schools participating in this weekend’s state championship are: Albertville High School, Auburn High School, Bob Jones High School, Calhoun County Career Technical Center, Charles Henderson High School, Cullman County Area Career Center, Dothan Technology Center, Florence High School, Fort Payne High School, Hewitt-Trussville High School, Huntsville Center for Technology, Limestone County Career Technical Center, Madison County Career Technical Center, Pelham High School, Russell County High School, and Wenonah High School
What Will Happen During the Competition?
At the beginning of the competition, all teams receive the official menu and ingredients to complete the meals. Each team has exactly 30 minutes to organize its work areas, supplies, and time management plans. Teams have only 60 minutes to prepare the required dishes, which include a full appetizer and main course. To complete this enormous task, students must be well organized and knowledgeable of proper food preparation techniques.
At the end of the one-hour contest period participants then present their completed dishes to a panel of professional chefs and nationally recognized instructors. Every item is judged for appearance, taste, and temperature. During the competition, students are also judged on their work habits, personal appearance (uniforms and equipment), and overall creativity.
Students will have an opportunity to have their dishes critiqued by some of the top chefs in the Southeast. This year’s competition judges are:
• Chef Doug Allen – American Culinary Federation (ACF) and ServSafe Proctor – UAB Hospital Executive Chef
• Chef Kevin C. Duffy – Culinard Program Director – Virginia College Savannah
• Chef Chris Dupont – Café Dupont – Executive Chef and Owner
• Chef Amber Moore – Culinard Pastry Instructor – Virginia College Birmingham
• Chef Scott Jones – Chef and national Culinary Journalist
• Chef Mary Grace Viado Howard – Corporate Executive Chef – The Village Tavern