Prepping for their futures, Duncanville High School culinary arts students competed in the second annual Iron Chef: North Texas on October 29, 2011 at The Art Institute of Dallas. A high-school take on the popular Iron Chef: America concept, it was a culinary showdown unlike any other in the area. Eight high school teams competed to see whose “cuisine reigned supreme” with the judges, who were local restaurateurs, chefs, and members of the culinary education community. Approximately 75-100 spectators showed up to support their students and schools, watching the competitors form their creations via a live video feed provided by the Art Institute of Dallas.
Following the same basic structure as its Food Network counterpart, Iron Chef: North Texas required each team to cook and present an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert within a one hour, forty-five minute time limit. “It was a fierce and spirited competition,” commented Andre Bedouret, head judge and Director of Continuing Education at the Milestone Culinary Arts Center. “It was a tremendous opportunity for students to practice teamwork and the sharing of unforeseen challenges as a group.” Each dish had to contain a secret ingredient that was revealed the day of the competition. The Fall 2011 secret ingredient was celery root, and teams were also provided with a protein that was kept a secret until the competition – flat iron steak or jumbo shrimp with heads attached. Rising to the challenge, competitors came up with some impressive dishes. Duncanville High School’s menu included Deep Down Under, Root Cellar Soup, Shrimp Po-Boy with Black Pepper Slaw, and Bourbon Street Bread Pudding.
At the end of the day, Richardson High School was named the Iron Chef: North Texas Fall 2011 winner, snagging the travelling plaque and trophy along with other donations. In essence, each team was a winner just for participating. DHS students each received an apron, a medal, and a swagbag containing goodies from several local vendors. Even more important than the prizes were the valuable experience and advice from the judges that each team received. “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,” said event coordinator and Duncanville ISD Communications Specialist Tiffany Graber. “The school year is filled with several competitions that require the perfection of skills, as students vie for a spot at nationals. I hope we provided them with a fun and creative start to the competition season, as well as the opportunity to practice.”