Culinary Students win big at FCCLA Culinary Competition

On Feb. 9, Mrs. Hoskins and three of her culinary arts students, Katelyn Holmes, Margaux Whitley, and Amanda Marrott traveled to Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte to compete in the annual Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Culinary Competition. The girls were able to win first place among seven other teams in North Carolina! I got the chance to talk with Katelyn Holmes and Margaux Whitley to learn more about their amazing experience.

Q: What did the competition entail? What did you have to do?

Katelyn: The competition is a total of eighty minutes, and the first twenty are strictly to write a time management plan and organize the team’s station.  After the twenty minutes are up, you then have sixty minutes to prepare the selected menu. I wrote the time management plan and prepared the protein and side dish, but we helped each other throughout the entire competition. You have access to the menus during the competition, but it’s a waste of time to go back and look at it, so I had my recipes memorized.

Q: How many other teams did you go up against?

Katelyn: We went up against seven teams, but there was only one other team in our kitchen during round one. We beat out the other team in our kitchen to move on to round two, where we faced off with two other teams, including our biggest competition, East Mecklenburg High.

Q: How did you and your team prepare for the competition?

Margaux: We practiced about once or twice a week after school and almost every day in class. The menus were released before the competition, and we practiced making them in one hour.

Katelyn: We sometimes stepped it up by practicing during the snow days and exam days for extra time. We practiced timing ourselves and had Mrs. Hoskins and other teachers observe, point out mistakes, and give feedback.

Q: What did you enjoy most about the whole experience?

Katelyn: I really enjoyed creating bonds with my teammates and winning with them. We put a lot of work in, and I know we worked for this win together.

Margaux: I enjoyed getting to work with professional chefs and being in a big commercial kitchen. I felt like a professional chef, and it was really cool to be in that competitive environment.

Q: Were you nervous during your time at Johnson and Wales?

Katelyn: Round one was strangely stress-free for me, but it was round two where the nerves started to come. I wasn’t nervous that I would mess up, but I just saw how efficiently the other teams were working together, and it psyched me out a little.

Margaux: I was nervous when we first started practicing, but on competition day I wasn’t. I knew we were extremely prepared, and I was just running over everything in my head. I was making sure we weren’t forgetting anything before, so I didn’t really have time to be nervous.

Q: Are you happy with how everything turned out?

Katelyn: I forgot to add lemon zest to my side dish and immediately realized after we brought our plates to the judging table. I was so disappointed and thought it would be the mistake to break us. We cleaned our stations while they judged our plates, and Margaux and Amanda just kept telling me it was going to be fine, but I still had doubts that we weren’t going to win.

Margaux: I am very happy with the way things turned out! I was a little skeptical going up against the team that won nationals last year, and I feel very proud to say we beat them. I’m super excited to go to nationals!

Q: What’s next?

Katelyn: Nationals! I am beyond excited! We go to Atlanta in July and do the same thing again, but it could be any of the three menus we were given in November. Obviously, I hope to win, but it is an honor just to be able to attend and compete.

Margaux: Nationals are in Atlanta this summer. If we win, we will get scholarships to Johnson and Wales University, which is a school I am considering going to.

Congratulations to the culinary team on their first place win!

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