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JCCC Stories

JCCC welcomes student chefs from across the Midwest

February 2, 2018

High schoolers compete for culinary scholarships and awards

More than 50 high school students will measure, slice and sauté their way through Johnson County Community College's annual cooking competition this February. For the third year, JCCC's WHCA High School Culinary Team Competition will draw high school students from across the Midwest to the Wylie Hospitality and Culinary Academy to compete for $1,000 scholarships and the title "Best in Show."

Associate Professor Mary Berg, one of the event organizers, said, "This is a great way to bring potential students onto campus from all over the region. They are always impressed with our state-of-the-art facilities and high-tech equipment, they get to meet and talk with our culinary students and faculty, and they have a fun time showcasing their cooking skills."

Hot competition

Competing teams — which are mostly from Kansas and Missouri — consist of two to four members plus an alternate. Up to 17 teams are expected to participate this year. Berg said although competition is tough, teams are measured against a standard rather than each other, so medals and scholarships are awarded based on scoring criteria. Each student on the "Best in Show" team receives a $1,000 scholarship from the JCCC Foundation. Other teams will be awarded gold, silver or bronze medals, depending on their scores.

Teams are required to demonstrate culinary knowledge, basic kitchen skills and creative abilities by preparing two identical meals consisting of a starter; entrée with protein, vegetable and starch; and a dessert. One meal is for display and the other is rated by judges from the foodservice and culinary education industries.

A warm welcome

The one-day event also provides JCCC students an opportunity to put their hospitality and customer service skills to work. According to Berg, "Our students will prepare and serve breakfast and lunch and staff a hospitality room for the teams. We also will host games, giveaways and lots of fun activities to fill out the day."

JCCC's Hospitality Management program sponsors the competition. Coordinating committee members are Berg, Assistant Professor Michelle Riley, Associate Professors Jason Gray, Aaron Prater and Ed Adel, and Professor Jerry Marcellus.

Focus on your future

Looking to put an edge on your culinary skills or sharpen your existing career? Contact Carol Sparks at 913-469-8500, ext. 3626 or by email to find out more about JCCC's culinary education opportunities.