The Central Texas College (CTC) Culinary Arts department put students to the test with the CTC version of the "Iron Chef" cooking competition. Based on the television reality show, five teams of culinary arts students, with four members per team, were tasked with preparing an appetizer, an entrée and a dessert to include the secret ingredient in each dish. The secret ingredient for the contest was grape leaves. Each team was made up of students from a variety of culinary classes including saucier, basic and intermediate food preparation, regional and international cuisine.

Judges for the competition were Gill Bledsoe, owner of Pillar Bluff Winery in Lampasas; Laura Garrett, owner of Cheesey Buns food truck and three-time winner of previous “Iron Chef” contests; and Will Wagg, executive sous chef at the Shilo Inns. They sampled a portion of each prepared item and rendered their decision based on flavor and aroma, presentation, originality and use of the secret ingredient in each of the prepared food items. Not only were the students’ cooking skills be on display, their creativity and ability to think quickly were inspired as the three food items had to be completed within a given time limit.

Earning first place honors was the Team Five – Anthony Cameron, Lela Garrett, My Quan and Jamie Wong. Each member of the winning team received a Shun Cutlery knife set and will have their individual names engraved on a plaque to be displayed in the culinary arts kitchen. While Team Five received praise from the judges for all three prepared dishes, the judges really enjoyed the team’s dessert of chocolate mousse with a strawberry and sugared grape leaves.

The second place team was Team Two – Jared Foster, Quincy Green, Carmelo McGarvey and Jared White. Finishing in third place was Team One – David Bouie, Patricia Butler, Tiffany Flewellen and Veronica Gering. Members of the second and third place team each received engraved medals.

This marked the 10th “Iron Chef” competition which is traditionally held at the end of the spring semester. In the fall semester, culinary students compete individually in the CTC version of the television cooking show “Chopped.”


Photo cutline: Lela Garrett and Jamie Wong of the first place team prepare the dessert portion of the "Iron Chef" competition. See the complete "Iron Chef" photo set on facebook at: