The Recipe For Success

The culinary team takes home first place at the 12th Annual Texas ProStart Invitational.

Ryley Anthony, Editor-In-Chief

The culinary team recently competed in a contest that showcased their talents around public speaking and restaurant preparation. While coming out on top takes an immense amount of effort and capability, the real recipe for success flourishes in the introduction a future chef has to the art of food. New Orleans, among other creative aspects,  is known for its exquisite cuisine. Senior, Alexa Davis, embraced all the unique flavors Louisiana had to offer. She immersed herself into The Food Network, finding comfort in TV shows like Cupcake Wars. Soon her interest in food preparation intensified, years later leading her to explore her cuisine capability in a state competition. 

“Personally I’ve done performances before. I’ve been in theater and choir so I’ve always been more comfortable presenting in front of people. It’s always been something that has come easy to me. So when my team and I started to compete, I had to learn to settle my nerves. It was a totally new experience for me. Competing is different from being onstage and performing because you actually have to interact with the judges and answer questions. I had to mentally prepare myself to give the right answers and present our restaurant correctly,” said Davis. 

During this specific event, contestants are required to present a restaurant concept to a group of judges. They spend months preparing dishes and photographing them in order to create an enticing menu and inviting dining environment. Junior, Griffin Biddle, discusses the lengths he and his team endured in order to fabricate an alluring restaurant that persuades judges to taste what they have to offer.  

“We’ve been preparing for the competition since August. We practice five days a week, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Each practice we worked with previous and current mentors with creating new ideas. We collaborated with one another in order to create a concept that was an open table. It was a lot of hard work, however it definitely paid off,” said Biddle.

According to Junior, Logan Ceraul, one of the most important elements to winning the competition was putting together their twenty-eight page book. With efforts of attaining organization and artistry the group of chefs constructed their book with written descriptions and photographs of their prepared meals. 

“There were four dished that we prepared to put on the menu. We did our Strawberry Peach Lemonade. We made crispy sage chicken with hot honey. It was an airline chicken breast and drumstick that was battered and fried. It has sage in the batter and it is super good. We also included crispy brussel sprouts and a honey glaze. We prepared a lobster mac and cheese as well. Then we had pistachio crusted lamb chops with roasted potatoes and grilled asparagus. Finally for dessert we had a chocolate harvest, a temper chocolate shell, the shape of a heart and inside has Rosemary ice cream,” said Ceraul. 

Going into the competition the team elaborated on what their goal was and how they might achieve it. They all agreed that they were eager to place first, however they knew most importantly they wanted to work profoundly as a team. With the insertion of creativity and diligent work ethic they not only placed first but also improved their bond and chemistry in the kitchen. Biddle believes a collaborative mindset helped shape the team’s win. 

“Our goal was obviously to win, but also teamwork. Being able to work together as a team, even when we are enduring rough patches, was something we all wanted to execute. We practiced critical thinking and came up with real work solutions to problems. We did so collectively,” said Biddle. 

All three competitors ponder a future immersed in the culinary field. The hard work and intense efforts are shaping the career they hope to pursue after graduating high school. Davis’ passion for cooking started in New Orleans, but she hopes it continues throughout her adulthood wherever she might be. 

“For the competition we created this restaurant and overall concept. I think it would be so fun to open up our restaurant in the future. It’s a really well thought out and nice project. We put in so much time and effort. If we were to get investors we could really play out the concept we created,” said Davis. 

Coming together as a team, creating creative and tasty menu options, and speaking in a way that entices one to dip into a new idea was not simple. However, Ceraul and his team have a recipe in which they follow to ensure success and most importantly a growth as creators. The program’s core values are based upon growth: Green, Refined, Outreach, Welcoming, Thorough, and Honesty. 

“Creativity is something you definitely want to have. You want to be able to have laser focus on what the recipe for a dish is. If you are just cooking that same recipe over and over again it’s gonna get boring. Your creativity is what will allow you to add in another spice or an extra vegetable. The new element will bring out something new in what you are creating. Being able to concentrate and know what you’re doing is key. The perfection that comes in cooking is trying something entirely new with a recipe you are used to following,” said Ceraul.