Gulfport High culinary students learn from a seasoned competitor - - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport High culinary students learn from a seasoned competitor

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Two schools will be competing against each other in a state culinary competition in February.   One school has never competed before. The other school took home the top prize last year.   On Thursday, both teams got together to actually help each other prepare for the cook-off.

"You guys have 30 minutes left, 30 minutes!" the chef shouted to the crowd.

The heat got pretty intense in the kitchen. The culinary students from Laurel High School had to prepare dishes that will please the judge's palate. Laurel High won first place in the state ProStart cooking competition last year.

"OK, y'all have 10 minutes left!" the chief warned them.

When the program instructor heard that Gulfport High School started its own culinary program this year, he made a rather tempting offer.

"How about this: My students and I, why don't we come to you and show you all some of the things we did in competition, so you all can be ready to go in the competition?" said Roderick Hollins, Laurel High School Culinary Instructor.

So the Laurel students put on a mock competition at Gulfport High to share their recipe for success. They demonstrated basic knife skills, safety and sanitation, teamwork and food presentation.

One team prepared chicken and andouille sausage in Cajun creme sauce and grits cakes. The other team made homemade cherry tomato salsa with chicken fajitas.

"It really helped to prepare us for the competition and I really thank them for coming down here and showing us how it will be like and what the judges expect of us," said Gulfport High senior Michael Bell.

The Gulfport students also helped out by serving as judges.

"Somebody looking at us all the time and feeling pressure you know, it was a good experience for that," said Laurel High junior Cameron Roberts.

The cooking lesson taught both teams that food can foster friendships.

"As long as you're doing your best in competing against us and we're doing the best, we can help each other out," said Hollins.

"So when we do go to competitions, it's friendly. But we want to win," said Anita Huey with a big laugh.

Huey is Gulfport High's culinary instructor.

"It's an incredibly generous thing that they have done and I hope we can pay it forward and do it for another school," she said.

The actual competition will be held in Jackson on February 19, 2013. It is pretty tough. Students get only 60-minutes to prepare a three-course meal. They can only use butane burners, with no access to running water or electricity.

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