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Culinary Students Face-off in Grilled Cheese Competition

Career & Technical Education students in the culinary arts pathway tested their skills in a classic cook-off to find out whose grilled cheese sandwich stood out as the best.

The competition was about more than just satisfying taste buds. In addition to creating a tasty sandwich, students were also required to come up with an interesting name and present a brief menu description of the meal. One student from each team was assigned the role of lead chef and another made the presentation to the judges.    

ProStart and Culinary Arts teacher, Chris Hill instructed students to, “work safe and smart” and made sure to emphasize the importance of cleaning as you go and staying organized while preparing and cooking the sandwich.

Students worked with the following ingredients:

Breads:  Sourdough, White, Wheat, and Potato

Cheeses: Cheddar, Swiss, Pepper Jack, Gouda, Queso Fresco, Provolone, Muenster and Mozzarella

Meats: Bacon, Chicken, Ham, and Ground Beef and Pepperoni

Fillings: Avocado, Jalapeno, Tomato, Lettuce, Eggs, Green Chiles, Onions, Spinach, Mushrooms and Salsa

Sauces: Mayo, Mustard, Sriracha, Ranch, Pesto, Hot Sauce, Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti Sauce

Hill recruited staff from Westminster High School to serve as panelists to judge all sandwiches. Several teachers gathered to rank the sandwiches on appearance, flavor, texture, creativity and overall presentation with scores ranging from 1-5.

The winning the sandwich in Hill’s period six class was created by Kimberly Reza, Daniel Rodriguez, Jacob Lopez, Miguel Gomez and Alex Vilaisack. Their grilled cheese featured grilled chicken, bacon, spinach, avocado, tomato and sriracha mayonnaise.

The winning creation in Hill’s period seven class was made by  Willow Wilson, Daveigh Whitaker, Ever Garcia Cardenas, Mimi Arias and Erika Jaime. Their sandwich was presented as a pepperoni pizza grilled cheese with a garlic butter spread.

The two winning teams will compete in an ultimate challenge mid-September to crown the Grilled Cheese Cook-Off Champion.

At the end of the competition, Hill asked his classes to reflect on the challenges presented by the event. Students admitted that, at times, they struggled with time management and organization; important skills to master if the food services industry.

A student also reflected on what they enjoyed, saying they liked being part of a team, engaging in friendly competition and, of course, eating their finished products.