During the eighth annual Platinum Chef Team Challenge on Wednesday in Red Bud, seven area high schools brought their best culinary arts students to test their skills at preparing a four-course meal for professional chefs and food experts.
For the first time, Marissa High School took home the top honors with first place in Best of Competition.
The teams, each consisting of seven students, used ingredients given to them on the morning of the contest to prepare an appetizer, salad and entree. They also put together homemade desserts they'd brought to the competition.
Teams were scored not only on the food prepared, but on their oral presentation to the judges, sanitation as they work, teamwork and written test.
The event is sponsored by the Monroe-Randolph Regional Office of Education, the Okaw Regional Vocational System and Southwestern Illinois College. Judges were chefs and SWIC instructors Tom Noonan, Joy Noonan and Leisa Brockman, and News-Democrat Food Editor Suzanne Boyle.
Here are the team winners:
Best of Competition: First place, Marissa; second, Red Bud; third, Columbia.
Best Test Score: Waterloo
Best Utility/Support Team: Red Bud
Display Table Presentation: Red Bud
Best Oral Presentation of Dishes: Waterloo
Best Appetizer: Belleville East, with roasted tomatoes stuffed with a mixture of cream cheese, chopped chicken, mushrooms, sauteed onions, bacon, bell peppers, green onions and garlic.
Best Salad: Red Bud, with a crisp Romaine lettuce with slivered heirloom carrots, blueberries, topped with cantaloupe and watermelon balls, sprinkled with a citrus dressing.
Best Entree: Chester, with a Southern-style chicken breast.
Best Dessert: Columbia, with a triple-layer chocolate mousse garnished with fresh raspberries and a milk chocolate ganache.
Individual award winners:
Competition Best Presenter: Sean Shaw, Waterloo
Tyesha Coleman, Belleville East
Mierrah Reese, Belleville West
Natasha Pulliam, Chester
Cole Crissup, Columbia
Catherine Gehrke, Marissa
Keenan Turnure, Red Bud
Sean Shaw, Waterloo
Competition MVP: Tyesha Coleman, Belleville East