MIDLOTHIAN — A variety of aromas from the Asian inspired cuisine made by the Midlothian High School Culinary Arts Department filled the halls as the 4th annual Panther Chef Competition took place Thursday, Dec. 15. Juniors and seniors under the tutelage of MISD culinary arts teacher, Jeffrey Matthew, competed against one another in a 35-minute cook-off sponsored by Aramark, a nationally recognized foodservice provider.

During the competition, seven teams comprised of two students, each, prepared an Asian-style entree for a panel of five judges. The judges based the winning dish on appearance, flavor and how the mystery ingredient and Asian vegetable, Bok Choy, was incorporated into the entree.

“This is only my second year to be in charge of the event. Last year two of our students, Renata Van Geem and Faith Martin, participated in the competition, won first place and made it to the Lone Star Chef Competition in Waco,” Matthews explained.

He shared that Aramark is not only the provider for the competition but is also the food provider for all of MISD.

“The competitions allow students to showcase their talent and skills that they learn in the classroom. Whichever teams wins today will compete in Waco against other schools around our district, Matthews said. “All of the ingredients are provided by Aeromark and are all healthy. Nothing can be fried. The students selected a recipe to use for the competitions and made adjustments as needed.”

These students include:

First place: "Dill with it"- Ashley Cooks and Lindsey Cole, Korean Tacos Second Place: "Queen Chefs"- Brisa Azua and Meghan Brown, Chicken Stir Fry Third place-: "Food Bandits” Kyle Almand and Alejandro Ojeda Aldaco, Beef Bulgogi Fourth place: "Brown Sugah" Jocelyn Ross and Desirea Goodman, Mongolian Chicken Fifth place: "Kim & Cara"- Kimberly McDorman and Cara Dova, Asian Chicken Lettuce Wrap Sixth place: "Butter than you"- Renata Van Geem and Faith Martin, Chicken Spring Rolls Seventh place- "The Mexi-Asians" Ruby Aguirre and Claudia Ojeda Aldaco, Chicken Potstickers At the Lone Star competition in Waco, seven teams from around the region compete for first place, with the winners of the contest having their recipe added to the lunch menu at their school. Champions from 2015-16, Van Geem and Martin, noted that their winning trip to the competition last year provided them with a $1,500 scholarship each.

“Last year we made Chicken Parmesan with fresh marinara sauce. It was nerve-wracking to get that done,” Martin explained. “We didn’t think we won it. They announced the third and second place winners, and we didn’t think we did that bad, but we didn’t think we got first.”

First place winners Ashley Cooks and Lindsey Cole will participate in the Lone Star Chef Competition in the spring of 2017.

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Kelsey Poynor, KPoynor_WDL

(469) 517-1454