CHHS culinary students ready for competition

Published 11:26 pm Thursday, February 3, 2011

Imagine yourself sitting down to a feast of juicy beef tenderloin kebabs, mouth-watering chipotle mashed potatoes, followed up with decadent cappuccino mousse in chocolate cups.

Truly, it’s a proverbial “feast fit for a king,” and students from Charles Henderson High School will be responsible for cooking up one such feast Saturday in a culinary competition in Birmingham at the Culinard—the culinary institute of Virginia College.

The students will face one of three menus, each consisting of several food items the judges expect the students to be able to prepare.

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On menu number one is Parisian watermelon salad, pork medallions with deglaze sauce and warm Asian salad; menu two consists of papaya and blueberry salad, chicken scampi and lemon basil pasta; and menu three consists of beef tenderloin kebabs, chipotle mashed potatoes and cappuccino mousse in chocolate cups.

The team representing Charles Henderson High School in Saturday’s competition consists of four students: Terrika Hill, Reggie Bryant, Kasha Moody and Tyronda Stringer.

Each of the students say they are ready for the competition, but are still a bit nervous.

“We can expect a big challenge, because this is our first competition,” Hill said. “We’re just so nervous and excited.”

Hill, an aspiring chef, hopes to gain real world experience from her exposure to the competition.

“I hope to learn what life will be like working as a chef and I feel this competition will grant me some of the experience I’ve been looking for,” Hill said.

Each of the students have several different aspects of cooking that they enjoy, but they all agreed that tasting the fruits of their labor was, perhaps, the greatest.

“I enjoy cooking,” Bryant said. “My favorite menu so far is menu three with the cappuccino mousse in chocolate cups.”

The students will have only 30 minutes to set up and 60 minutes to prepare the meal itself.

“We’ve practiced every day after school for the past two weeks,” Moody said.

There’s no question of whether these students know how to cook.

According to Stringer, the students do whatever it takes to get the job done.

“We work well together and really like seeing the end result of what we’ve done,” Stringer said.

“In every job, there is an aspect of ‘quality control,’ so, for me, paying attention to quality control in the kitchen will help me to apply it to other jobs out in the real world,” Stringer said.

Because this will be the first culinary competition for the students, they hope that their experience in Birmingham will better prepare them for next year’s event.

“It’s definitely a team effort,” Moody said. “I look forward to supporting my culinary family here at Charles Henderson.”

Winners of the competition will go on to represent the state of Alabama at the upcoming 2011 Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Calif.

Paula Hinson, Culinary Arts teacher at Charles Henderson High School, is proud to have her students represent the high school.

“I am very proud of my students,” Hinson said. “I feel as though they’re less like my students and more like my children.”

Hinson works to instill a sense of ambition within the hearts and minds of the children she teaches.

“I hope these children take from this experience the fact that if they set their goals, then they can achieve them,” Hinson said. “Because these students have the desire to want to do it, it makes me feel as though I’m succeeding at my job.”