Coming Together to Benefit Future Culinary Workforce

Filed under: Schools |

Local organizations lend time and money to area’s only high school Iron Chef-style competition

Hard work plus determination is the simple recipe for success, but several local organizations are adding a few extra ingredients to help high school culinary students prep for their future. They’re adding advice and experience as well as time, money, and products to the second annual Iron Chef: North Texas event.

Hosted by the Duncanville Independent School District and The Art Institute of Dallas, this year’s culinary cook-off is set for October 29, 2011.

A competition unlike any other in the area, Iron Chef: North Texas is a high school take on the popular Iron Chef: America concept. Culinary teams from ten high schools face off to see whose “cuisine reigns supreme” with the judges, who are restaurateurs, chefs, and other influential members of the Dallas/Fort Worth community. ”The school year is filled with several competitions that require the perfection of skills as students vie for a spot at nationals. I wanted to provide a fun and creative start to the competition season, as well as the opportunity to practice,” said event coordinator and Duncanville ISD Communications Specialist Tiffany Graber.
But perhaps even more important than the practice are the interactions that students will have at the competition. The panel of judges at Iron Chef: North Texas consists of chefs and restaurant owners in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, as well as educators at several culinary institutes. “I wanted to get student’s names in front of their future professors or employers and give them the opportunity to seek advice or mentorship,” commented Graber. Big names in business such as the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, Sysco, FreshPoint, Crystal Creek Cattle Company, Dexter-Russell, and Ettinger-Rosini and Associates support the competition and may have members in attendance. Parents, administrators, classmates, and community members are also welcome to attend.

Iron Chef: North Texas follows the same basic structure as its Food Network counterpart: a team from each high school will be responsible for cooking three dishes within a one hour, forty-five minute time limit. In addition, these dishes must all contain a secret ingredient revealed the day of the competition and are judged on taste, presentation, and originality. The battle begins at 9:00 am on October 29 at The Art Institute of Dallas (8080 Park Lane, Dallas 75231). The winning team/school will receive the title of Iron Chef: North Texas and several exciting prizes donated by local vendors. “As a chef and educator, I am very excited and very proud to see students stepping up to the plate and participating in the Iron Chef: North Texas competition,” said Andre Bedouret, head judge and Director of Continuing Education at the Milestone Culinary Arts Center. “It is a tremendous opportunity for them to practice teamwork and the sharing of unforeseen challenges as a group. I am looking forward to a fierce and spirited competition.”