Hemet High chops it up to first place

HHS culinary team wins first prize in chopped cooking competition

Photos by HUSD
Ariana Nassar and Kalin Whitfield hard at work to whip up a first place dish!

■ Hemet Unified School District / Contributed

Hemet High School students in the school’s Culinary Career Technical Education (CTE) class won first place in the Culinary Chopped Competition at the Perris Southern California Fair on Oct. 7, 2018. This was the first time Hemet High was represented at this culinary competition.

Fernando Parga, Kalin Whitfield, Tammy Bakewell (teacher), Ariana Nassar, and Mackenzie Lanier.

The competitors were asked to prepare a salad, appetizer, entrée and dessert with limited resources and ingredients. The Hemet High team won the competition with their deconstructed spring roll salad with quinoa and a peanut butter dressing, garlic bread made of an eggo waffle and blooming potatoes with garlic sauce, hot cheeto fried chicken with a side of guacamole and roasted asparagus, and an open apple pie with a stuffed apple on an eggo waffle drizzled with caramel sauce.
The competition wasn’t the only challenge the students needed to face. A half an hour before the competition began, the Hemet High team was still short one team member. Luckily one of the team members, Fernando Parga, had brought a friend with him to the competition, Kalin Whitfield, and Kalin was brought on as the fourth member so the team could compete. This competition was the first time Fernando, Kalin, Ariana Nassar and Mackenzie Lanier had ever worked together.
“I was impressed by how well we communicated,” said Kalin. The team said each member just floated to where they were needed, whether that was cleaning, gathering ingredients, or preparing for the next meal.
The team had to work together to create solutions to challenges they faced throughout the competition. They only had two knives, no eggs, milk and only 10 minutes to review the inventory of ingredients. Despite the challenges, the team rose to the occasion to provide out of the box solutions to their problems such as using ladles to mash food for the sauces they prepared. However, the team seemed eager to sign up for another competition and to work together again.
Fernando, Kalin, Ariana, and Mackenzie won first place in the Culinary Chopped Competition representing the Hemet community well throughout the competition!

Fernando Parga is determined and focused while helping prepare one of the team’s winning meals.

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