SHS multi-department competition tests cooking and writing skills
A group of Somerset High School students took part in a cooking show style competition on Wednesday, Jan. 18, as part of a multi-department collaboration project that was completed over a two and a half week period.
"Susie Kadlec (the high school English instructor) and I decided that we wanted to collaborate on a unit together," said Family and Consumer Science instructor Kelly Emerson. "We sat down and decided we wanted do a cooking show and decided on doing a spin off with the show Top Chef.
"It is always fun to get our students working with students from other classes and Susie really wanted to get her students doing some real world writing and this seemed like the perfect opportunity."
The purpose of the "Top Chef" style collaboration, according to Emerson, was to give the students a fun way to utilize what they have been learning in class while also meeting the educational standards set by the school and the state.
"The idea was to have each group choose a family recipe or a recipe that is native to their heritage/background," Emerson said. "They then were to analyze and modify the recipe, do a trial run of the recipe and make adjustments as they see fit. Another part of the project was to compose a summary of the history of the product that would be presented."
The students had to work together to plan, prepare and serve their dish to the guest judges, who would be evaluating them in several different categories.
"We were, as well as the community members who were our guest judges, were blown away by the student presentations the day of competition," Emerson said. "The element of competition really pushed many of the students to perform at their highest level."
A total of 20 judges, a group made up of community and school board members as well as high school staff, took part in the evaluation of the student projects and their dishes.
"The winning group was the Cheeseburger Soup group, which included Austin Larson, Preston Anez, Will Gauper, Jack Peterson," Emerson said. "The winners were chosen based on their written work, their food preparation and presentation."
Given how successful the collaboration was, Emerson plans to try and do more collaborations in the future.