Four students at the high school have entered an exciting statewide competition in the first time in SCC’s history. Seniors Nicholas Jones, Raini Denny-Broker, Luke Jensen, and Noah Carlson are all enrolled in one of Ms. Hawkins foods classes this semester, where they have been learning all about the art of culinary technique and design. Hawkins describes these boys as “the most creative culinary students in my career”.
In order to encourage their growth, Hawkins set forth to them the challenge of submitting an original recipe to this year’s Whipping Up Wellness, Wisconsin Student Chef Competition. Student teams form across the state submit original recipes that are nutritious, could be used by the school’s food service program, are easy enough to complete at home, and are creative. These recipes are evaluated by a panel of judges and scored on nutritional content, recipe presentation, creativity, school food service reproducibility, and culinary skills utilized. Of the 60-80 teams that usually enter, five are then chosen to travel to Madison and participate in a cooking competition, where one team’s recipe will be selected as the winner.
The team of four senior boys have crafted a recipe for spicy stuffed peppers with creamy tomatillo sauce. Jones explained that he never imagined that he would be creating an original recipe for stuffed peppers, but that he and his teammates have enjoyed the process. He goes on to explain that it’s been interesting to figure out ways to elevate comfort food from your past to higher level of culinary excellence. Carlson indicated that they have made and remade the recipe several times with different fillings and ingredients trying to find the perfect combination.
When asked why they wanted to participate in the competition, one of them replied that they wanted to expand their horizons and take their cooking to the next level. However, none of them indicated that they were considering a career as a chef at this time, mostly due to the unpredictability of the profession.
Hawkins, SCC’s sole Family and Consumer Education teacher, indicated that she has previous exposure to the Whipping Up Wellness competition at her previous school, but that this was the first group of students that she felt could undertake this culinary challenge at a state level. She does hold many school wide culinary challenges for students in her classes including a “Chopped” challenge, a chili cook-off, and a grilled cheese competition. Staff always love to be judges at these events.
As for Jones, Denny-Broker, Jensen, and Carlson, we will have to wait to hear if they have been selected as finalists for the live cooking competition. We won’t know for a while, but the competition will take place on May 18 on the UW- Madison campus. You can find out more information about the Whipping Up Wellness, Wisconsin Student Chef Competition by visiting https://dpi.wi.gov/team-nutrition/whipping-up-wellness.
UPDATE - They made it and will be competing at the state level on May 18th!
Submitted by Amanda Olson and Courtney Hawkins