LAYTON—Cooking can be fun, relaxing and a little stressful. Students in Amberly York’s ninth-grade FACS (Food and Consumer Science) class at Central Davis Junior High experienced all of that recently as they competed in their own version of the TV cooking show “Chopped.”
“I’ve seen other teachers do it,” said York. “They (students) get excited about a competition and it teaches organizational skills, team work and gets their creativity going.”
Throughout the semester, students learn about nutrition, methods to cook dairy, eggs, etc. “They brought their own recipes and they can apply the skills they’ve learned,” said York. “It is fun. I’ve definitely had my failures (in class) and I find doing demonstrations helps a lot.”
York said if anyone would have asked her when she was younger if she wanted to be a teacher, she would have said absolutely not. “I didn’t know I’d be a teacher,” she said. “I used to think ‘they’re so annoying.’ But then I realized how fun and creative they are. I’ve got a different perspective. It’s the idea of wanting to have an impact.”
Students were put in groups at different kitchen stations then given 45 minutes to complete their dish and present it to the judges. There was laughter and some panic as the teens scrambled to mix, stir, bake and put the finishing touches on their creations.
Savannah Newbold and her group made churros. “It’s a special pastry dough,” she said. “I like the positive energy I get from cooking.” Another group member said she enjoys the class because it’s hands-on and not just book work.
Kolby Navarrete and three other boys cooked up a Spanish dish, loosely translated to rice with milk. “I think we can win because it’s unique and tasty,” he said. “It’s basically cinnamon, milk, rice and sugar. It’s fun to cook. It’s something I grew up with.”
Other groups made dessert crepes, caramel tart cake glazed with homemade caramel, strawberry shortcake and smoothies.
A timer on a screen at the front of the room ticked off the minutes and York called out to students as the clock wound down to plate their dishes and bring them to the front table or they would be disqualified.
York and principal Edward Barker judged each dish for presentation, creativity and flavor.
“You’re killing me,” said Barker between mouthfuls. “You’ve done a really, really awesome job. There’s some really good stuff. The taste of the rice and milk – wow I loved that.”
Ultimately, the homemade churros took first, but York and Barker both congratulated all the kids’ efforts.
“This was really, really hard – everything is delicious,” said York. “I’m really proud of you guys. We looked at the difficulty, presentation and taste and the churros were best overall. You guys are awesome.”