BDS students put their culinary skills to the test

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — High school students put on their chef hats for the second annual Chartwell Chef’s Challenge.

Some Bay, Mosley, and Rutherford High School students spent Tuesday morning learning from professional chefs in a challenge against each other, getting exposure and critiques from real chefs.

The challenge takes place in February to celebrate Career Technical Education Month.

“They were provided a demonstration on how to do a french omelet properly by the executive chef of the Pearl and then they will be making a Jambalaya and also we have the pastry chef from the Pearl, and she is helping them with their piping techniques, providing an avenue of direction and we also have one of the judges is the private chef for General Pierce,” Chartwell Community Engagement Specialist Stephanie Werchan said.

Werchan said it is a good opportunity for the students to see the culinary avenues they can take after high school, while also receiving critiques from local chefs.

“I think the more experience I have working in the kitchen the better off whenever I go to college.” Bay High Senior Jordan Sikes said. “I’ve been cooking my whole life, you know, and the more that I work with Coach Bailey, and my culinary class, the better I get.”

But winning isn’t exactly the goal.

“The winning is the education and the constructive critiques,” Werchan said. “So, in having exposure to different levels of executive chefs and private chefs, as well as pastry chef, it’s really just to expose the students to all the different avenues of culinary that are possible. So, when they do graduate, they feel they have a foot in the door in terms of an interview or moving forward with their career.”

Werchan hopes to get more students involved in the challenge and grow the culinary program each year.

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