Culinary Competitors Win Bronze

On Monday, February 14, a select amount culinary students competed in a competition at Johnson County Community College.


Harmony Hockman

Senior Luka Majstorovic cooking in a kitchen.

Amara Whited, Print Copy Editor

On February 14, a select few students from Chef Anne Cort’s culinary classes went to Johnson County Community College to compete in a cooking competition. At stake was possible scholarship money for those who won high ranking medals. The team of student chefs won a bronze medal. The team sent to JCCC to compete was made up of junior Peighton Johnston, junior Dillon Magee, senior Madison Blume, and junior Piersen Martin.

“…It’s like we all adopted each other as siblings,” Johnston said. “…The stress of being under a time crunch with special limitations is a good way to get a group of people used to each other.”

Being in an environment like this can be unnerving, especially knowing what could be won; and just as such, what could be lost.

“I remember being more nervous than I expected to be, and with good reason,” Johnston said. “The other schools who participated were very skilled and definitely deserved to be there.”

The grading system for this competition can be seen as unusual. Instead of a definite first, second and third place, the teams were competing against a standard. This means that multiple teams won gold, silver and bronze.

“It was graded like homework rather than seeing who was better than someone else,” Johnston said.

Although Cort’s classes have plenty of students, only a few were able to compete at JCCC. Cort does not accept less than the best to represent her students’ talent.

I’ve got some serious talent … They’re the cream of the crop, the elite of the elite.

— Chef Anne Cort

The students that competed were able to create their own dishes, resulting in unique and delicious combinations. Martin was able to create a dish after her salmon cake recipe was scrapped.

“I made coconut shrimp on a flowered cucumber with a sweet chili sauce,” Martin said. “I was originally going to cook salmon cakes but that would have been too complex or long for this competition, so my teacher suggested doing something with shrimp instead and it went from there.”

JCCC serves as an introduction to competitions for students that haven’t experienced one before. The environment of a competition can be much different than cooking at home or even cooking at school.

“We do two competitions a year,” Cort said. “[JCCC] is the smaller one of the two. We kinda use [JCCC] … as our test competition.”

The students that compete at this level are the best talent that Cort has to offer. In line with their level of competence, the students must also price out their dishes as if a restaurant were serving the food. This adds another level of difficulty to what the students most perform.

“They have to do a cost analysis,” Cort said. “…That’s how [the menu] is supposed to be set up: recipe, cost analysis, and picture.”

Although the students are not competing in the second competition this year, next year’s competitions are already being thought about.