Winona Senior High School Culinary Arts students competed in a classroom chili cook-off competition on Thursday, April 18. The array of chilis included chicken chili, chili mac and cheese, pepperoni pizza chili, cherry coke chili, Mexican black bean chili and chilli mac chili. The pepperoni pizza chili took first place by majority with the chili mac and cheese coming in second.
At the beginning of the unit, students were assigned with selecting a chili recipe to cook from scratch for the competition. Students were introduced to basic culinary skills which include safety and sanitation, knife skills, adapting recipes, and food preparation. They explored textures and flavors as they put the final touches on their dishes. Each group were judged on the most colorful, most aromatic, sweetest chili, most unusual ingredient, most unique, most satisfactory heat and best aftertaste balance. As the judges moved from station to station, students were asked what inspired them to select their recipe, what was their secret ingredient and what they liked the most about their final dish.
Congratulations to Cail Behrens, Anna Engen, Samantha Kaiser, Ella Mueller, and Kaitlyn Rollinger, who prepared the winning recipe of pepperoni pizza chili! This is a great class to prepare students to engage in the culinary world, whether it is in food service or cooking for friends and family. Upcoming units include creating chicken stock for chicken noodle soup, mastering culinary knife skills, braising and stewing and how to use herbs and spices to ramp up dishes for enhanced flavor. Mrs. Oliver stated, “When students leave my class, they are prepared to make just about anything! They have learned to do shop floor math, work in a team environment, master all of the cooking methods, and practice professional culinary knife skills.”