Cooking up a change


Madison McCollum

Two Northwest students joined several other teams from Wichita Public schools to compete in a cooking competition on Jan. 27 at South High.

Junior Autumn O’Conner and senior Marcus Wooley decided to step up after their culinary class was prompted for the competition. The goal? Create a delicious, nutritious school lunch for the enjoyment of their peers.

“We had made enchiladas and our fruit and a vegetable side dish,” O’Conner said, “The fruit had kiwi, oranges, cinnamon, and granola mixed into it. Our vegetable dish was a bean cilantro. Mostly everyone liked it, but we didn’t come in first place.”

The students had to have some food purchased for them and provided with pre-cooked hamburger meat before their meal was prepared and presented before a group of judges. The winners of this competition would receive a paid trip to Washington D.C. and have their food incorporated into the school food.

“Our next competition will be with the whole entire state,” O’Conner said, “We’ll be going to a hotel, and we designed our own restaurant that’s called the Royal Soul Food and it has a bakery in it.”
According to culinary instructor Alison Draut, O’Conner, Wooley, sophomore Cheyanne Sanders, and junior Haleigh Lovings will be participating in two competitions: management and edible garnish. For the management competition, students will be presenting a restaurant before a panel of judges which can range from business owners to chefs from universities. The edible garnish competition will have students sculpting things like dinosaurs, or flowers, from fruit.

“I’m preparing by taking it on as if I was really opening one [a restaurant],” Wooley said, “so I called all the places and I’m so, ready. I can’t even explain how ready I am for this.”

The two will participate March 3 and 4 with students from all over the state of Kansas.

“It’s not all about winning,” O’Conner said, “that was a small competition this one this one is going to be a whole lot bigger and we want to show our school.”