CTC Culinary Class competes in state competition

Students bring home the gold and silver

By Patricia Beech

Students from the Culinary Arts Department at the Ohio Valley Career and Technical Center recently competed in the Ohio FCCLA competition at the Columbus Culinary Institute and the Ohio State Fairgrounds. Students competed in four categories including: Junior and Senior Representatives for meeting event set ups; Senior Pastry Chef, Senior Garde Manage; and Junior and Senior Culinary Team.

At the beginning of the 2016 students were given packets describing the competition and what they were expected to do. “You have to want this,” said CTC Culinary Arts teacher, Becky Foster. “This competition is above and beyond the student’s curriculum, they still have all their work to do at school while they’re practicing for the competition.”

Students credit Foster for driving them to succeed. They say she “treats us as equals”.  Foster says she won’t ask her students to do anything that she can’t or won’t do, “It allows for a more workable and realistic relationship,” she says.

The only gold medal winner in this year’s competition was senior Elizabeth Nimeskern, who competed in Senior Dining Room Attendant. “I was surprised I won,” she said. “We had to follow the rubric and it was very specific for a very nice dinner table.”

Members of the Junior Culinary Team from the Ohio Valley CTC compete in regional culinary competition.
Members of the Junior Culinary Team from the Ohio Valley CTC compete in regional culinary competition.

Senior Sierra Polley received a silver rating at regional competition and at state competition for her pastry arts tray which was presented on a display built by students in the carpentry program. Sierra plans to attend college and become a physical therapist.

Pastry Arts Junior competitor received a silver rating for her raspberry cake with Chantilly frosting, garnished with fresh raspberries.

Heather Groves competed in Senior Garde Manage (cold kitchen). She was presented a silver medal for her tray of fruits carved into animal shapes. It was her second state competition, and she says she wasn’t nervous at all. She hopes one day to work in a four-star restaurant

Summer Cook competed and won a silver rating in the Junior Dining Room Attendant event. She was required to create table settings in five different styles: Classroom, U-shaped, Theater, Open Square and Conference. “I was really nervous,” she said, but I decided I was just going to go with it.”

Joey McGinnis, Courtney Barbour, and Nakayla Vance received silver ratings for their Senior Meeting Event setup. They prepared a U-shaped dining table during their phase of the competition. “I was so nervous,” said Vance. “The judges kept such a close eye on us, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

McGinnis admits that he too was nervous during their event. “I was really worried about breaking the glasses,” he says. “I just did not want that to happen.” Barbour says that she plans to continue her culinary studies and hopes one day to own her own bakery.

Brandshy Hawkins, Angel Polley, and Sabrina Waits were the Junior Representatives for Meeting Event setup. Each won a silver rating for setting up tables in five different styles.

The three-person Culinary Teams had 90 minutes to prepare an entire meal including smothered chicken, sauteed vegetables, chocolate olive oil cake, and Quinoa. Carrie Hunt, Eddie Troxell, and Chyenne Houchen competed in the Junior team event, and Alex Fitzgerald, Katrina Myers, and Dakota Nehus competed on the Senior Team. Each team member also had to demonstrate three precision knife cuts used by chefs on a regular basis.

Fitzgerald prepared the chicken and the Quinoa. He says he didn’t find the competition difficult, “It’s just cooking,” he said. Alex currently works as a cook for Venture Productions and says he would be happy to remain there until he retires.