Students on Fremont High School’s culinary team qualified for a bronze medal and won an award for creating the best appetizer during a regional competition at Metropolitan Community College in Omaha on Feb. 23.
Their appetizer, pork and cabbage potstickers, was deemed the best of all those prepared by 32 competing teams and won in the “Best Starter” category, according to the team’s adviser and the head of the FHS Family and Consumer Sciences program, Carolee Cronin.
Teams had to prepare a starter, an entree and dessert during Institute for Culinary Arts Regional Competition, in 60 minutes.
For its entree, the team cooked teriyaki flatiron steak with root mash and veggie bundles, and for dessert, it cooked white chocolate passion fruit mousse.
The team included seniors Maria Bernal and Alyssa Dockerty and juniors Zac Depue and Caitlyn Timm.
The FHS team didn’t qualify for the state competition later this week, but the bronze medal and win in the “Best Starter” category were welcome accomplishments for a team consisting solely of first-time competitors.
While Fremont has traditionally participated in culinary arts competitions, it was the first time anyone on the team, including Cronin, had ever participated.
Cronin said the team was “relieved and very proud.”
“They were very very happy because they really didn’t have any idea what to expect, none of us had ever been to a culinary competition, let alone participated in it,” Cronin said.
Cronin believes that Depue and Timm will continue on with the team next year.
“It’ll be really helpful next year having that experience, kids who have had that experience and leadership on the team,” Cronin said.
Cronin said that the kids likely benefited from working with the competition’s judges, which included experienced chefs.
“To be 18 years old and be preparing something in front of two people who are probably maybe 24 inches away from you and asking you questions, they were just so focused and they did such a good job,” Cronin said. “They were scored by very highly accomplished chefs in the industry. They did such a great job, I’m so proud of them.”