Lulu Mubarak ’20
Despite health-related school closures during the 2019-20 school year, Culinary Arts classes managed to continue their annual Top Chef competition by going virtual. Students were asked to be creative and submit a video of themselves explaining to their audience how to make a particular dish, similar to television cooking shows. Zuania Victoria won this year’s competition making Mexican Sopes.
Top Chef, which has been an end-of-the-year tradition since 2012, is among the favorite annual events for students and staff. Typically, this annual competition consists of three rounds of live demonstrations. This year, however, students worked independently and gathered their own ingredients as needed. The top ten students who win earn $75 and the first prize winner collects $250. Culinary Teacher Mrs. Geleta is very proud of her students for adjusting to a new format with such ease. “I applaud students who took on this challenge and created a nice dish,” Mrs. Geleta said. “It shows students’ motivation, creativity and passion for cooking. Seeing the students continuing on this tradition virtually warms my heart.”
Initially, Mrs. Geleta was concerned about assigning this project that may require students to visit grocery stores. As a result, she decided to give students the freedom to make anything they wanted. This meant that they could use what they had at home. Students took this opportunity to create a variety of dishes, consisting of shrimp, pancakes, omelettes, cakes, and chicken.
Mrs. Geleta had several favorites, as it was very hard deciding which dishes made it to the Top Five. “All the kids did a great job. Brandon made an Oreo cake from scratch! Victoria also made a times-appropriate “Toilet Paper” themed cake,” Mrs. Geleta said. “One of my favorites was Raven’s fettuccini. It involved lots of skills and she clearly showed them in the video. I was very impressed by her idea and execution.”
Senior Kevin Coiro chose to cook an omelette for his project and was very happy with the outcome of his recipe. “The competition was an exciting experience and I had lots of fun creating my omelette,” he said. Though Kevin did encounter some struggles while cooking all by himself, he claimed it was a new experience to prepare his recipe independently and not in class.