Students compete at the Culinary Invitational


By Christie McClure

Bellevue West High School’s three culinary teams competed at the Culinary Invitational hosted by Metropolitan Community College on February 24th 2012.
Team Sunny Side Up took home the silver medal with a meal consisting of honey lemon vinaigrette salad, grape seed oil chicken with rosemary potatoes, sesame soy sauce green beans, and chocolate mint mousse with cocoa syrup drizzled on top for dessert. The team members were junior Amanda Dunlap, seniors Elease Greedy, Ashley McConnell, and Anna Lewis.

During the invitational all teams meet with the judges and are debriefied, which is just the judges giving advice and pointers on what they should work on or do different for next time.

“[My favorite part was] the debriefing. At first, I was scared but then once we went in all it was, was [the judges] giving us advice and pointers. It was actually really fun,” Dunlap said.

The next team, called Captain Crunch and the Cereal Killers, consisted of seniors P.J. Ramirez, Makayla Williams, and juniors Matt Pettit, and Tanner Wibelhaus. The team made spinach fruit salad with citrus vinaigrette, pan seared steak, asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, and polenta balls. For dessert, they made a white chocolate cup filled with mint chocolate pastry cream. Team Captain Crunch and the cereal killers took home a bronze medal.

“When we went into debriefing, they said we reacted well. We weren’t able to use our polenta for what we wanted, so I had to think on my feet and came up with the polenta balls,” Ramirez said.

The third team to compete in the invitational was team Holi Canoli. The members of the group were seniors Adriana Ramirez, Jasmine Reep, Mariana Ramirez and junior Matt Healy. The team made spice-rubbed sirloin steak for their main course served with sides of crab meat, ceviche steamed vegetables and garlic mashed potato puffs, ending with vanilla bean ice cream presented under cinnamon brown sugar apples for dessert. The team Holi Canoli ended the competition bringing home a bronze medal. For Metro’s culinary competition students compete against a standard, meaning students can win a gold, silver, or bronze medal, or no medal at all. They is compete against other teams from the school. All teams from Bellevue West placed, taking two bronze and one silver. The teams started practicing before and after school in January.

“I am super, super proud of my students. They practiced hard, and they put a lot of time into it. Next year I hope to get a good mentor for next year’s competitions,” Culinary Arts teacher Pam Oholendt said.

Oholendt also said the competition was very stringent and had many rules. Anything battery operated was prohibited; there was a limit of only two little burners; there was also no electricity, no running water, and no refrigeration.

“The competition is just like taking a test, everyone can get an A if you do well enough. It all depends on your abilities,” senior P.J. Ramirez said.

With Bellevue West bringing home two bronze medals and a silver medal, team members says they are completely satisfied with how they did this year.