Competition can be delicious


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  • Lead student chef Ashley Weigel and Teacher Chef Kathy Weyant of The Inforno team are shown preparing what would end up being the winner dish for the evening, lemon pepper chicken served over garlic couscous. Additional team members were Cassidy Braico, Steve Owens, and Taryn Stolzenberg.




  • The buffet table.




  • The Taste Buds team is shown preparing their meals. Team members included Michael Agosta, Krystoff Porter, Jewel Vanderhee, Shane Rodriquez, and Teacher Chef Barbara O'Keefe.




  • Members of the Delicious team included Teacher Chef Kavita Ramnarais, Abby Kucks, Jameka Locke, Ricky Smith, and Jon Soto.



The TEams

Winning Team: “The Inferno,” led by Teacher Chef Kathy Weyant. Team members were Ashley Weigel, Cassidy Braico, Taryn Stoltzenberg, and Steve Owens.
The “Culinary Crusaders,” led by Teacher Chef Mr. Rob Sears. Team members were Brandon Soden, Nick Pohero, Scott Holster, and Connor Senor.
The “Taste Buds” led by Teacher Chef Mrs. Barbara O’Keefe, Michael Agosta, Krystoff Porter, Jewel Vanderhee, and Shane Rodriquez.
”Delicious” led by Teacher Chef Mrs. Kavita Ramnarais, Abby Kucks, Jameka Locke, Ricky Smith, and Jon Soto.

VERNON — Vernon Township High School hosted its fourth annual Culinary Throwdown with four teams competing on Wednesday, June 11. According to Carla Brandt, the Sodexo chef and manager of the cafeteria, this year was a departure from earlier competitions in that the trained professional area chefs of the past were replaced by mentor chef high school teachers, who she described as “foodies,” or great fans of fine foods.

Held in the school’s cafeteria and billed as the school’s “Super Bowl” of cooking competitions, the event was sponsored by Sodexo, which provided the supplemental food items and a mystery protein ingredient that was later identified as chicken breasts. Sodexo is the company that handles the school’s food concession.

Each of the four teams consisting of four students each plus the team’s mentor was required to prepare a starter course, an entrée and a dessert.

The teams had about 75 minutes to prepare, name, and present their creations to a panel of judges that included VTHS Assistant Principal Nancy LoPresti, Nancy Carver, and Debra Colby.

The teams were each judged on a number of criteria including kitchen safety, cooking techniques, skills and mastery of food preparation fundamentals, presentation, creativity, flavor and taste.

A prize was awarded to the winning team, which was “The Inferno” team. The team was made up of teacher chef Mrs. Kathy Weyant, lead student chef Ashley Weigel, Cassidy Braico, Steve Owens, and Taryn Stolzenberg. Weigel was also a winner in the 2013 competition.

Their winning menu included: pineapple salsa with tortilla chips, Lemon Pepper chicken served over garlic couscous, mushroom spinach, and for dessert, raspberry chocolate layer cake with raspberry ice cream.

Admission was priced at $6 for adults and $5 for seniors and students and included a buffet dinner, entertainment by VTHS Jazz Express under the direction of Mr. Max Taylor, door prizes and a 50/50 raffle. More than 150 people attended. All proceeds were earmarked to go to the Family and Consumer Science Scholarship Fund, which will be awarded to a deserving graduating FACS student. The scholarship will cover such disciplines as Culinary Arts as well as Fashion and Early Childhood Development.

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