The Culinary Team from St. Martin High School won first place in the high school division of the Chefs of the Coast Competition held at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum and Convention Center.
The team, made up of juniors Devyn Brown, Robin Hughes, Kara Jarrett, Nathan Savoir, and senior Annabelle Picard, and instructed by Robin Pate, brought home a trophy along with a $1,000 cash prize for their winning menu – Guajillo Pork Medallion over Sautéed Spinach with an Apricot, Cherry, Fig and Guajillo Pepper Glaze and framed with Seared Gulf Shrimp.
Robin Pate has been teaching as SMHS for the past 24 years, ten of which have been in Culinary Arts. Not a typical course found in schools, Culinary Arts provides a great learning experience for students.
“The purpose of the culinary team is to experience industry time constraints, to work with industry chefs, and to promote teamwork,” Pate said.
Pate teaches Culinary Arts I, II, and III. She has a BS and MS in Secondary Education and received her culinary training from Educational Institutes at the Culinard Institute in Birmingham and Mississippi University for Women in Columbus.
Every year the team competes in various competitions – the Chefs of the Coast, Mississippi Department of Education/USDA Jr. Chef Competition, MGCCC Chopped Competition, and Disney’s Cook Around the World Competition. In the past, they’ve won 1st and 2nd place at the Chefs of the Coast Competition, 1st and 2nd place at MDE Jr. Chef Competition, and 1st and 2nd place in The Great American Seafood Cookoff in New Orleans.
Pate couldn’t be more proud of her students’ achievement.
“It is always great to see my students succeed. It is super exciting to witness their teamwork and success on any level.”
At the competition, the team was given four mystery basket ingredients from which they created their winning flavorful entrée creation — Guajillo Pork Medallion over Sautéed Spinach with an Apricot, Cherry, Fig and Guajillo Pepper Glaze and framed with Seared Gulf Shrimp.
Not only did the team have a goal in mind, but they also gained insight into the world of culinary arts. They got to experience a professional setting, got to work with an industry chef, received tons of supplies, got a chef mentor for their classes, and a monetary prize. They also learned responsibility, the importance of teamwork, how to work under pressure, and how not to be afraid of new situations.
Collectively, the team members agreed that the win meant that all of their hard work and dedication was worthwhile and that it was extremely gratifying to compete in front of their parents and friends as well as industry professionals. The team is looking forward to participating in this competition again next year.