Chef Anton Doos, instructor of food service and culinary arts at St. Croix Educational Complex Career and Technical Education Center, took three student chefs to compete in a cooking duel on Barbados this past weekend, and the team of young women took home a gold medal for their talents and skills.
The team made up of CETC culinary arts students Kaylisha Jerris, Makayla Peterson and Britany Stanisles competed in the Caribbean Junior Dueling Challenge at the Culinary Arena.
Doos said it’s the fourth time students from CTEC took part in the annual junior chef competition for high school students. The V.I. team competed with students from six other Caribbean islands in the four-day competition and conference that began last Thursday.
Doos said this was the first year they had a conference along with the challenge. There were workshops and presentations by industry professionals and international chefs.
Doos said competition is very important for student chefs. He said they compete against themselves with a goal of using everything they have learned.
And they learn how to compete with rules that are the same in the workforce, he said. “They will be competing for a job, or the next better job. This prepares them to learn how to make themselves stand out among the competition.”
In the first round, the teams had to prepare their signature dish in 30 minutes. The CTEC team created a fungi and plantain encrusted fish, accompanied with a red pepper coulis and tamarind sauce. They made a chayote and mango slaw as a side dish.
In the second round, the teams had to prepare a dish using ingredients they got in a “mystery basket.” They got chicken breast, pork, shrimp, ginger, pineapple juice, green tea, and a sweet and sour sauce.
The teams are judged on the usual things like taste and presentation, Doos said, but they are also judged on nutritional values, safety, cleanliness and sanitation practices. Judges consider the use of Caribbean products, waste and leftovers, and how they work as a team in the kitchen.
Makayla Peterson, who was competing for the first time, said it was a big deal to her. “I’m looking forward to competing again,” Peterson said. “I loved it.”
The students raise the funds to pay for everything, from airfare to accommodations.
Doos said the students work catering jobs, whatever they can get, including catering an event at Government House this weekend.
He said “Good to Chew” student caterers prepare and serve gourmet luncheons at St. George Village Botanical Garden and they cater public and private events.
The culinary students have been invited to take part in a Taste of Jamaica in November. But because they’ve used funds for such recent trips, Doos said that to participate the kids need community sponsors.
To support the student chefs or to have “Good to Chew” cater an event or party, call Doos at 340-690-9521.