A Tasty Competition

Thursday March 14, 2013

Aspiring chefs in white chef uniforms and hats from four area high schools squared off in the 6th Annual High School Culinary Cook-Off today. The event, similar to The Food Network’s “Iron Chef” competition, tests the culinary arts programs of Clyde C. Miller Career Academy, North Technical, Normandy and South Technical high schools in a battle for the title of “Top High School Chefs” and the ultimate prize the traveling Levy Cup trophy.

Chef Jason McGraw of Levy Restaurants at America’s Center helped develop the format for the competition and set the “surprise” elements, which included an array of high end, restaurant-quality ingredients. No recipes were allowed and the young chefs were required to use only the items provided. Teams were tasked to create an appetizer, salad and entrée.

After the heat of battle in Forest Park Community College’s kitchen the chefs were critiqued by four judges from the St. Louis community. The judges were Chef John Johnson, RiverCity Casino, Chef Collier Evans, Mangia Italiano, Chef Casey Schiller, Forest Park Community College, and Judi Diamond, On-Air Talent 92.3 WIL Cornbread Morning Show. The judges critiqued them on everything from food prep, safety and presentation, to knife cuts and cross contamination of foods and flavors. The judges were temperate but firm with their critiques, and it’s an understatement to say the students’ nervousness was palpable.

In the end, South Technical was declared victorious and happily accepted the Levy Cup traveling trophy and gold medals. North Technical earned silver, Clyde C. Miller and Normandy both accepted bronze.

The cook-off is an event that has become a popular addition to the CVC’s annual week-long celebration of National Travel & Tourism Week.

National Travel & Tourism Week, established in 1983 by the U.S. Congress, is a collective effort to promote the power of travel through customized events in communities nationwide. Created by the U.S. Travel Association the goal of the nationwide event is to enhance the country’s economy, security and perception, and recognize the cultural and social benefits created by travel and tourism.

Check out the photos from today’s 6th Annual Culinary Cook Off!

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