SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Culinary students from Hoover, Madison, Mira Mesa, San Diego and Scripps Ranch high schools are scheduled to face off in a teen "Iron Chef" competition Wednesday.
The mystery for the participants is the identity of a secret ingredient they will need to incorporate into three-course meals they will prepare, in the style of the popular "Iron Chef America" television program on the Food Network.
They'll find out what the ingredient is just before the beginning of the San Diego Unified School District event that begins at 3:30 p.m. at the San Diego Gas & Electric Energy Innovation Center, 4760 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard.
Some of the past secret ingredients were balsamic vinegar, brie, calamari, cantaloupe and prosciutto.
"It is so much fun and makes all of our classroom cooking projects more meaningful because we are cooking for professional judges," said Vannak Seang, a Mira Mesa student who competed last year.
According to the SDUSD, the culinary students were able to work on their ideas, go shopping, portion their protein and measure dry and liquid ingredients today, but aren't allowed to do any actual cooking, pre-making of dough, or premixing of ingredients ahead of time. They'll be allowed to have recipes or prep-lists at their station during the competition.
Michael Nylund, a senior at San Diego High, and Jessica Vasquez, a senior at Madison High, are, like Seang, returning competitors.
Several of the participating schools held mock competitions recently for practice and to select team members.