SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Five local high school culinary teams will soon be cooking up a heated Iron Chef-style competition.
The event is in its ninth year and was the brain child of a College, Career & Technical Education (CCTE) teacher. She wanted her students to experience competitive cooking and based the San Diego Unified School District's competition on the Iron Chef America Series on the Food Network.
[The Teen Iron Chef Competition will be held Thursday, February 6 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center.]
Students are able to work on their ideas, go shopping, portion their protein and measure any dry or liquid ingredients the day before. They are not allowed to do any actual cooking, pre-making dough, or premixing ingredients ahead of time. On the day of the competition,
they will be presented with a secret ingredient that must be incorporated into at least one of their three courses.
They are allowed to have their recipes or prep-list at the station during the competition.
Five schools will compete this year, with Morse High School making its first year debut under the direction of CCTE teacher, Sara Smith, and mentor Ivan Flowers, Executive Chef from Top of the Market.
Hoover High School will mark its second year in the competition under the direction of CCTE teacher, Pam Dahlin, with the help of mentor, Chris Sias, Sous chef from Felix's BBQ. Last year's winner, Madison High School and CCTE teacher, Justin Halbert, will compete again this year, as well as San Diego High School with CCTE teacher, Brian Murphy; and Scripps Ranch High School with CCTE teacher, Kimberly Coelho.
The San Diego High team has a member, Emily Rodriquez, who participated in the Teen Iron Chef competition last year. She is looking forward to this year's competition.
"Teen Iron Chef was a lot of fun. It was a great way to help us think on our feet and experience the heat of the kitchen during a fast paced competition," comments Emily.
To keep the competition fresh and to not give any team an advantage, the competition location is changed every year along with the secret ingredient. Some of the secret ingredients from previous years include calamari, brie, balsamic vinegar, prosciutto, cantaloupe and tofu.
Many of the schools hold mock competitions in the week leading up the event in order to select the students for the team or practice the nuts and bolts of the competition.
The event is supported by the San Diego County Chapter of the California Restaurant Association. This year's judges include Ed Powers (Chili's), Ken Irvine (Bleu Boheme), Durwin Daniels (Fish Market), Jon Weber (Cowboy Star), Bernard Guillas (Marine Room).