Vanilla ice cream in a caramel lattice cup topped with a cinnamon tortilla chip won the judges’ votes at the third annual Trojan Iron Chef Competition held last week.
Oak Ridge High School juniors Mishelle Eberhard, 17, and Angelina Truscelli, 17, took top honors with this delicious creation, paired with their homemade salsa and tortilla chips and steak fajitas. Six teams, some partnered with local sous chefs, had 15 minutes to prep and an hour to cook their meal at Thursday’s cook off sponsored by the California Cattlewomen’s Association; the main dish had to include beef and the appetizers and dessert were optional.
“I think everyone put a lot of effort into it,” said competition judge Trevor Gennai, Sienna’s sous chef. “They did a good job.”
El Dorado Union High School District board member Todd White, Red Hawk Casino gardemanger chef Matthew Luther and CCA President Shamarie Tong joined Gennai as judges for the competition organized by culinary arts teacher Sharon Varozza. Judging criteria were safety and sanitation, food preparation, food presentation and taste.
The students vying for the Iron Chef title are from Oak Ridge’s Foods & Nutrition, Culinary 2 and Culinary ROP classes.
ROP students Austin King, 17, and Mike Fox, 18, have competed for the last two years. When asked if they planned to make culinary arts a career they unanimously responded, “definitely.” This year they impressed judges with teriyaki steak kabobs on a bed of pineapple rice. It earned them third place.
“The first year was crazy,” said Mike. “This year was better but still kind of hectic trying to meet our deadline.”
In the last seconds before the buzzer Mike was swiftly adding the glaze on his kabobs. He got the team’s plate on the table just in time. During judging Mike and Austin spent quite a bit of time cleaning their station.
Teammates Megan Panero-Eley, 16, and Summer Hernandez, 17, had less trouble with the clock but created quite a menu challenge. The duo made Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and steak kabobs – an all-American-inspired meal.
All the food made the classroom smell delicious. Varazza said the competition gives students a chance to be creative and demonstrate what they’ve learned … all in front of a live, hungry audience.