The secret ingredient is …

What do you get when you cross “Iron Chef” with “Family Feud?” You get the first All European Culinary Fair — a newly developed competition that allows teams of two to four high school students from across Department of Defense Education Activity-Europe to show off their culinary skills. This year’s competition took place from Tuesday to Thursday at Sembach Middle School.

In prior years, Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe hosted a technology fair that included a culinary competition; however, this event was canceled. So, the idea of the competition originated when Faye Batey, a career and technical education coordinator, wanted to provide DODEA-E students with another means to showcase their gastronomic talents.

The event was also organized by Judith Fulsom, Larry Prine and Marsha Webster.
The Culinary Faire is based on the the ProStart Competition that students in the U.S. participate in and which the curriculum for the DODDS-E high school culinary classes are based on.

“This event gives our students the opportunity to show their skills and compete much like the stateside students,” Batey said. “However, the rules had to be modified a bit due to the unique circumstances of our students in Europe.”

The competition featured the creation of a three course meal, including a starter, entree and dessert. The meal had to be based on three core ingredients: rice, broccoli and chicken, which had to be used at least once during the competition.
Teams were also allowed to pre-request several other ingredients for their use during the competition.

Additionally, competitors had access to hand tools and two electric burners.
Competitors were judged on a rubric-based point system, which highlighted originality, technical skill, methods and presentation.

In addition to the meal creation portion of the competition, culinary students competed in individual events, such as apple carving, cake decoration, napkin folding and knife skills.

There was also a knowledge segment to the event where groups battled over culinary questions.

Competitors this year for Ramstein High School were seniors Alexander Jimenez, Brittany Mills, Miranda Romleski and Katey Webb and junior Carlos Lozano.
Three of the five RHS competitors are planning on attending culinary school or making culinary services a career after high school.

Webb will attend La Cordon Blue in Orlando, Fla., and Romleski will attend University of Nevada Las Vegas’ Harrhs College of Culinary and Hospitality. Lorenzo plans on working for a family run German restaurant when he graduates.
For the competition, RHS culinary arts students were under the tutelage of Chef Larry Prine, who helped them hone their skills in class and during afterschool sessions.

“Chef Prine is an excellent teacher who has a lot of experience in the food industry and with doing competitions, so he will give us that extra edge,” said Webb before the competition.

(Story and photo by Holly Freeman)