By Haylee Miles
The North Eugene High School Culinary team placed third at the Prostart competition in February. The team underwent many dramatic changes throughout the season. The teacher of the culinary classes and team has left and hasn’t returned. She left in November and was expected to return four weeks later. It has been five months now. She has had very little contact with the school. Just this last week she let the school know she will not be returning.
The team’s instructor, Chef Michael, was let go from Sweetwaters restaurant when Hilton Hotel bought them out. The previous teams were able to practice in the Sweetwaters kitchen and use the high end equipment. This year the team needed a place to hold their practices so they just had to resort to the school culinary room. The room at the school doesn’t give the team as much accessibility to expand their knowledge of cooking in a commercial kitchen.
The North team had practices two times a week up until close to the competition. Two weeks before the competition they had practice every single day for 5 hours at time. The team was dedicated to learning their part in the competition which made them successful in the end.
The competition was held in Salem Oregon. The North team competed against more than 30 schools. The high school teams were from all over Oregon. The competition announced the top five winners. The top three would win scholarships to any culinary school that qualified with their standard. Third place would receive 40,000 dollars, second would receive 60,000 dollars, and first place would receive 80,000 dollars. The money would be split up between the whole team.
The teams had an hour to prepare an appetizer, entree, and dessert. Brisa prepared shrimp rolls for the appetizer. Alfonso and Destiney seared the duck and veggies for the entree. The dessert was prepared by Emilee. She made a coconut raspberry cheesecake. One of the judges stated, “This duck is one of the best seared duck I have ever had.” The cheesecake was ranked number 3 in the whole competition. The appetizer was prepared differently than they had practiced because the rice wrappers were forgotten. Many think if they had remembered them, they may have gotten a better score.
The team placed well even though they went through some dramatic changes during the season. Due to the fact that Miho left and other struggles the team ended their journey here.