A team of cooks from Steilacoom Historical School District took first place in the Best Entr?©e/Side Dish culinary competition held March 16.
The local “Iron Chef” event, sponsored by Sodexho Food Service, featured six teams from area school districts, cooking at Clover Park School District’s Auxiliary Center.
The team, said Katie Lottes, SHSD Food Service Manager, “has been talking about the event all day.” Steilacoom’s team included Donna Elliot, Dona Boles, Diana Tadena, Heidi Singleton and Nancy Singleton. About 100 people attended the event, including team members, Sodexho general managers and district personnel. Steilacoom’s Finance Director Lark Moore represented Steilacoom.
According to Lottes, this competition is in its third year. This marked the first time for Steilacoom to participate.
“Our cooks participated in the Sodexho Iron Chef Equivalent called Culinary Celebrations,” Lottes added. Participants included teams from Clover Park, Battleground, Chehalis/Centralia, Port Angeles/Sequim and Peninsula school districts.
“Ten recipes are devised by a Sodexho area chef and selected ‚Äòout of a hat’. Lottes drew the one for “Espresso Rubbed Duck with Jalapeno Pear Chutney.”
District cooks had a month to familiarize themselves with the recipe, she added. Participants also prepared a salad and table decorations.
Steilacoom’s team selected a Columbian theme, featuring coffee beans, for their entry. They had two hours in which to assemble all the elements.
The idea behind the contest, Lottes explained, “is to get school cooks out of the ‚Äòthe chicken nugget’ mode of thinking. At the end of an evening of food presentation, tasting and voting, attendees enjoyed a chocolate fountain.
Winners received medals and gift certificates and kitchen gadgets.
No guarantee, though, as to whether Espresso Duck will soon appear on the cafeteria menu.