Teams of chefs from across Aldine ISD were pitted against each other. The competition was tough. Yet, Davis culinary students did it again. They showed strong cooking chops to reign as champions.
Aldine, Davis and Nimitz High School students recently competed in the “Chopped” Challenge. This is the third year of the challenge. The annual event is fashioned after the show Chopped on the Food Network. And like the hit series, the event is filmed live with judges determining the fate of teams.
Davis High School’s Culinary Arts Department played host of the event. Aviator Online, the student journalism group at Davis, showcased the event. The students broadcasted the four-hour challenge on the Internet.
Joey Luna of Revival Market judged the event. The Greenspoint Army Recruiting Center also took part on the panel. U.S. Army SFC Jonathan Brodeur and SFC Kaledo (no first name provided) represented the center. The panel also included Bill Ginder who represented the Aldine Education Foundation.
The schools’ #2 teams competed in a “Redemption Kitchen” challenge. The #2 teams fought to earn the final fourth spot in the main competition. Competing for the opportunity were Davis HS’ Garonisha Boyd and Pearline Davis, Nimitz HS’ Karina Bocanegra and Abel Pérez along with Aldine HS’ Elvis Valdespino and Jaqueline Sánchez.
In the “Redemption Kitchen” challenge, the chefs received a mystery bag of ingredients. In it they found fresh Gulf shrimp, a shallot, whole cremini mushrooms and an avocado. Each team only had 30 minutes to create four appetizer plates with the ingredients. The teams also had a pantry of fresh fruits and vegetables to use.
The team known as “Kool Kids” from Aldine HS won the “Redemption Kitchen” challenge. They got to compete in the 2017 “Chopped” Challenge.
The “Kool Kids” faced off against classmates Catherine Benítez and Silvia de León aka Team ALV. Also competing in the main competition were Nathan López and David Delgado from Nimitz HS as well as Davis HS’ Ashley Chevez and Ashley Harrison. The Davis HS team won the “Chopped” competition in 2016.
Teams had to create an appetizer. They had to use a mystery bag ingredients. This included Sweet Italian sausage, a cucumber, saltine crackers and fresh mozzarella medallions. Kool Kids from Aldine HS earned compliments. The team created a fresh salad along with a cheese stuffed sausage meat patty. Their classmates on Team ALV had a similar idea in mind. Team ALV served a cheese stuffed meat patty with sliced cucumber and sautéed onions. The teams from Davis and Nimitz both served a cheese stuffed link of sausage. The Davis HS team created a sautéed cucumber and onion mixed in a balsamic reduction sauce served over the link. The Nimitz HS team served the sausage link with sautéed cucumber and parsley cracker crumbs.
The Nimitz team got “chopped” during the round.
The entrée round also had a mystery bag of ingredients. The young chefs had to work with a salmon filet, a red bell pepper, donut sticks and capers. Teams had to create four entree plates incorporating the ingredients. They also had to include a starch and vegetable serving component.
All three teams earned kudos. They did an incredible job cooking the salmon and creatively using the donuts sticks.
Following the tasting and critiques, it was close. The heat was between Aldine HS’ Team Kool Kids and the team from Davis HS. The judges looked back at both the appetizer and entree rounds to make a decision.
The judges lauded Dea Haynie for helping Davis HS achieve the three-peat. She is the culinary instructor at the campus.
The competitive rivalry is already getting started. Helen Hayes, the culinary instructor at Nimitz HS, decided to get a leg up on the 2018 competition. She used the experience to amp up her students’ game. She assigned student Latrelle Hubbard to attend and observe the 2017 competition. He shared with classmates his notes. He discussed station set-up, plating style and judging critiques.
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