FIRST PLACE in the 2nd annual Owosso High School Culinary Competition went to the team of Danielle Holloway, a senior and 2nd year culinary arts student, and Raeanne Forrester, a junior and 1st year culinary student. The two can be seen during the Wednesday, May 17 competition preparing their roasted pork dish with spring vegetables, bacon, and brussel sprouts, and topped with an herb oil sauce and garnished with a parmesan tuile.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
The Owosso High School Culinary Arts program held a culinary competition on Wednesday, May 17, with three teams facing off in a “Top Chef” style competition, complete with a mystery basket of ingredients. Students worked in groups of two and three students, using the required ingredients of pork, rice, and brussel sprouts to create an entrée in less than one hour and 35 minutes. The competition was judged by Linda Robertson, co-owner of the Wrought Iron Grill; Lynda Cobb, the school’s executive secretary; and Lori Johnson, the CTE director for the Shiawassee RESD.
Taking 1st place was the team of Danielle Holloway and Raeanne Forrester, who won despite being penalized for presenting their entrée one minute past the 4:35 p.m. deadline. The other two teams tied for 2nd place, with the team of Payton Tyrrell, Garrett Root, and Ryley Turk winning the tiebreaker over the team of Chyanne Manning and Camilla Hesel. To break the tie, the judges were asked which dish they would order at a restaurant. Two judges picked the sweet and sour pork, sesame peanut butter brussel sprout coleslaw, and fried rice created by Tyrrell, Root, and Turk. One judge picked the stir-fry pork and brussel sprouts with mushroom risotto concocted by Hesel and Manning.
The students earned the right to compete in the May 17 competition by placing in the top three in a similar competition last fall. The students are under the instruction of Chef (Hannah) Poyner, who specializes in French cuisine. Additionally, the winning team will work with the staff at Wrought Iron Grill to create an entrée that will be featured for a week on the restaurant’s menu.
The culinary arts program is in its third year of existence at Owosso High School, and Chef Poyner teaches more than 100 students in the two-year program. In the first year, students focus on learning the staples of cuisine preparation, including safety and sanitation, mother sauces, the many ways to cook an egg, chicken fabrication, baking and pastry making, and international cuisine. Second year students are given a more project-based curriculum, with exams covering topics such as cake and menu design.
The class began in 2014 and worked out of a home economics room in the high school. Shiawassee RESD CTE director Lori Johnson then wrote and obtained a grant through the state of Michigan that allowed the class to purchase the necessary cooking equipment such as commercial refrigerators, stainless steel prep tables, dry storage racks, and cooking implements, among other items. Executive secretary Lynda Cobb then undertook the painstaking process of ordering all the equipment for the class.
The teams were awarded with medals, certificates, and a knife kit, which includes two knives, a peeler, and a digital thermometer.