Archive for Thursday, March 22, 2007

BHS culinary team headed to nationals

March 22, 2007

A trip to Charlotte, N.C. awaits the Baldwin High School culinary team, but the students won't be cooking at the national competition.

The BHS team will be participating in the management phase of the competition. That will involve a case study and the quiz bowl.

"We're looking forward to it," BHS junior Cameron Scruggs said. "We are definitely putting a lot of effort in to it now."

One of the team members is a bit frightened of the national competition, while another is hoping they will be able to make the trip.

"I am a little scared, because there will be a lot of really smart people," BHS sophomore Connor Wright said.

"It should be a lot of fun, as long as we get to go because of the financial situation," BHS junior Colby Heckathorne said.

One of the major obstacles facing the trip to nationals is the cost, because the district budget is very tight.

"We are hoping and praying the district will come up with the money to pay for their airfare and hotel rooms," sponsor Sandra Lawson said. "It's not going to cost that much, because it would cost more if we were in the culinary portion. We are just going to pack up and go use our brains."

Lawson estimated the trip would cost approximately $2,500 after the state funded $1,000 of expense.

Supt. Paul Dorathy said the district will use some classroom money that Lawson didn't use to fund the trip.

"We are tight on money, so they are getting some money from the state restaurant association," Dorathy said. "Then we are going to use some of their food money because Mrs. Lawson has been frugal with what she's done this year.

"So there is some money left there that we are going to use to help them go," he said. "I think we've been able to find enough to help them get going. It comes down to the fact that Mrs. Lawson has done a good job of conserving her money throughout the year, so she's been able to have a little money left to do that."

Since the students should be able to take the trip, they must now begin studying harder, according to their teacher.

"We are preparing for it right now," Lawson said of nationals. "The kids are working the quiz bowl, because that's the worst part for them. I've got them separated from the other part of class and they are working in pairs and going over the books. There are just a lot of questions to be asked and you have to know the answers."

State competition

On March 5-6, the BHS team won the state contest in Wichita. It was the first time a group of Baldwin High students have won any contest at the state culinary competition.

"It was pretty cool, I guess," Scruggs said. "We didn't expect it. There were a lot of people there that were really studying hard and we were just having a good time."

The team consists of senior Carly Young, Heckathorne, Scruggs and Wright.

Lawson was proud of her students.

"I was very pleased," Lawson said. "I was shocked that we did that. When I sat and listened to their answers to the case study, I was just so shocked that they had listened to me.

"The other thing is they came up with some terrific problem solving answers," Lawson said. "When they were doing their problem solving, they developed a certain technique of how they were going to do it, which I was very pleased with."

The management portion of the competition included a case study and a quiz bowl. Baldwin did well enough in the case study that their quiz bowl score didn't hurt its score too much.

The case study portion of the contest tested student's knowledge of situations that might occur at a restaurant. The students are judged on their ability to handle the situations in a professional manner while avoiding problems.

"It's a whole page about a restaurant scenario," Lawson said. "For instance, they had a generator to their frozen food that went out and they had to deal with the fact that all of the beef was in there. They also had to deal with a special party that someone over booked. They had a bartender that was possibly stealing money. Those are the kind of things that are nightmares for restaurant people."

The BHS team didn't do so well on the quiz bowl portion of the competition, but it impressed the judges with their case study answers.

"There's only so much you can teach them to do with a case study and the rest of it is all on their own," Lawson said. "They didn't do very well on the quiz bowl, but it doesn't have as many points as the case study. The judges had no questions to ask them, because they had answered everything. They even brought out solutions that the judges said no other team had thought of."

Some of the team members said they didn't study enough for the quiz bowl, but will be prepared for nationals.

"We didn't really study too hard before," Scruggs said. "We are really going to get after it now."

Other contest entries

Baldwin High also competed in the culinary portion of the competition. Senior Sam Wilson joined Heckathorne, Scruggs and Young to make up the team.

Last year, BHS placed second in this competition, but didn't quite have that success this year.

"If I had to guess, I would say they got fourth or fifth," Lawson said. "They don't tell you after the top three teams. We just didn't wow the judges. They loved the taste of everything and they thought some of our products were really unique, but probably not as unique enough."

BHS senior Amanda Cone also entered a competition at the state contest. Cone created an edible centerpiece, which didn't win any awards but impressed her teacher.

"She didn't place in the top three, but she did a super job," Lawson said. "She made a car out of a watermelon with oranges on top. It was very nice and unique."

Now the BHS students are enjoying their spring break, but when they return Monday, they will continue studying for the national competition that takes place April 20-22.

"It's good for kids," Dorathy said. "It's good for those students to go and it will be a great experience for them. They earned it so it will be a good thing for them."

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