By Tia Lynn Lecorchick Staff Writer
The Morgan County High School (MCHS) Culinary Arts team won second place in the Culinary Arts Occupation competition at this year’s Family, Career, Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) State Leadership Conference in Athens, Ga. in late March. As their prize, the team won a $1500 scholarship to the Culinary Institute of American (CIA), Johnson and Whales, and Eschoffier. After receiving high marks at a regions competition in Newton County, the MCHS Culinary Team advanced to the state competition.
The team was comprised of three MCHS students: Clair Mullis, Lydia Cuyler. Bridget Yallery, culinary arts instructor at MCHS, advised and chaperoned the team at the conference. Yallery trained the team to cook, plate, be safe, and sanitary. “The students were awesome and did a fantastic job. They each worked well as a team and this was reflected in the judges’ critique at State competition; the state critique was very good and again the students did a great job. This was the first time Morgan County HS entered Region and State competitions in Culinary and students do not usually place first in their first try,” said Yallery.
The team prepared the following dishes: Puree of Cauliflower Soup with Curry, Pan Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Whole Grain Mustard Sauce, and Jasmine Rice and Red Pepper Pilaf Sautéed Cabbage. The competition tested the students’ efficiency and ingenuity. “In 90 minutes they had to write a time plan, complete placing all equipment, ingredients and work station, prep all ingredients, cook all items on menu, and plate two servings for judges, all while operating in a safe and sanitary,” said Yallery.
Yallery hopes to expand the MCHS Culinary Arts Team in future years. “Culinary arts is very important to us at MCHS and we want to grow the program by having more and more students enroll in culinary arts. This career pathway is very lucrative and can be a very rewarding career if chosen by our students,” said Yallery.
Yallery hopes the community will get involved in supporting the culinary arts. “We would like the community to support us in terms of providing internships, sponsoring opportunities to our students, volunteering as guest speakers to our classes,” said Yallery. “Businesses in the community can extend invitations to MCHS to visit restaurants within the community, owners of restaurants can become advisers to our culinary department, we would like parent/guardian involvement in all our school and community events. Wherever and whenever possible we would like support from our community.”