(Eureka)— Culinary students enrolled at Alder Grove Charter High School in Eureka got a taste of excellence over the April Fool’s weekend as they competed at the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute’s (OCCI) Culinary and Baking Competition event in Coos Bay, Oregon.
“This was our first culinary competition at Oregon Coast Culinary Institute – and we think it was a great success,” said Jen Bertram College and Career Coordinator. “Students had an incredible experience showcasing their skills in a professional kitchen with added pressure being timed and critiqued on style, flavor, sanitation, and presentation.”
Senior Ian Rowley, was awarded with first place in the culinary burger competition receiving a $3000 scholarship towards OCCI tuition. Senior Malia Windbigler placed third for her burger and third place in the cake baking/decorating competition winning an additional $2000 towards OCCI tuition. Marley Sandeen, Paige Cress, and Skylar Thompson each took home a $500 participation scholarship award.
“This year’s event sadly took a back seat to COVID-19 the last few years, but we anticipate the event being fully back up to speed next year,” said Shawn Warren, OCCI’s Student advisor. “The objective of the competition is so that students can earn scholarship funds It also gives students a wonderful opportunity to really push their culinary world and practice what they have learned during their high school culinary classes.”
Between 40-50 students take part in the all-day event which includes students throughout the Pacific Northwest, Idaho and Montana. Warren said this year’s event saw a smaller competition version with students attending from high schools in Medford, Grants Pass, Lebanon and other coastal community high schools in Oregon with Alder Grove Charter High School being the lone competitor from Northern California.
This year’s culinary competition comprised of creating the best version of a burger – beef, pork, chicken, or tofu, etc. with an accompanied side dish. The baking portion of the competition included decorating a full-sized celebration cake with cupcakes.
Culinary classes are a part of Alder Grove’s Career Technical Education (CTE) classes. CTE plays an important role in the educational process as it provides students with not only career and academic skills, but success skills that are needed for the modern workplace, such as: critical thinking; communication; team work; citizenship, integrity, and ethical leadership; research tools; creativity; and innovation.
In addition, work-based learning provides learners the opportunity to learn and apply employability and technical skills that support success in a future career or postsecondary education. CTE pathways provides students with real-world skills that they need to enter the workforce in 16 different industry sectors including health science, building and construction trades, agriculture and natural resources, arts and media entertainment, and many other pathways currently offered in Humboldt County high schools. More information on CTE in Humboldt County can be found on at https://hcoe.org/cte/