by Madison Marko – Op-ed Editor
The culinary arts team placed sixth at the state competition this year. Lead by team captain and senior, Calista Webb, they prepared a three-course meal to be judged by chefs and culinary professors. The competition was held at Clover Park Technical College.
Webb said, “At state we prepared a microgreen salad for the appetizer with a sriracha carrot juice sorbet dressing, as well as some fried up some chicken for protein. The entrée was a shrimp curry with coconut foam, basmati rice, and Gai Lan, which is a Chinese broccoli, with fried shrimp heads.”
For Webb, the hardest part of competing at state was the high stress levels. The team was given an hour to prepare and plate their dishes, and any team that went over the time limit was docked points.
But, this is not the hardest part of the program. Webb said, “Last year at competition we did a really, really difficult dish. We cooked with duck, and duck is really hard to work with because if you get it to a really high temperature then it is ruined.”
Webb has been a member of the team for two years, involved in culinary class for three, and a cook for much longer. Webb said, “I started cooking as soon as I could start walking around. I started cooking because my babysitter would cook all the time. She did shows and cooked for customers. I started cooking and baking a lot because of her.”
Webb said, “Being on the culinary team gives you a lot of opportunities. The judges are all actual chefs who are in the field, or they are professors at culinary schools. One of the judges came up to the entire team and handed us all business cards and said, ‘Hey, if you want a summer job, call me. I will give you a job on the spot.’”
The team has been meeting weekly since September to plan and prepare dishes. Their current chef mentor is the sous-chef at Heartwood Provisions in Seattle.
The five-man team made up of: Calista Webb, senior, Vanessa Raya, senior, Devon Smith, senior, Jayson Raabe, junior, and Kasha Geen, senior. To Webb, they are a close-knit group. Webb said, “It is like a family, for sure. We goof off all the time. But when it is serious, we are all serious together. It is a cool program to be in and I highly recommend it.”