Alabama Teens Battle For Culinary Honors at Culinard Institute

Feb 28, 2011

It wasn't "Iron Chef," but the premise of Star Event 2011 was the same: prepare a great meal on the fly for a panel of judges and hope for the top spot. And do it in front of TV cameras.

In this competition, though, the contestants were Alabama high school culinary arts students.

Birmingham's Culinard, the Culinary Institute of Virginia College, hosted the February event, sponsored by Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). The annual contest allows teams of participants from occupational culinary arts/food service training programs to earn top state awards and a possible spot to represent Alabama at the upcoming FCCLA National Leadership Conference in Anaheim, Cal.

Star Event 2011 was filmed by Alabama Public Television.

Culinard Institute, which also has campuses in Mobile, Ala., Jacksonville, Fla. and Richmond, Va., has hosted the competition for seven years. Chef Antony Osborne, Dean of Culinard, said, "These are the future great chefs of America and we enjoyed giving them access to our beautiful new teaching kitchens and assisting them in their pursuit of a culinary arts career."

The FCCLA competition recognizes the students' ability to work as members of a team to produce a quality meal using professional culinary arts/food service techniques and equipment. In a total of 90 minutes, each team of three participants develops a plan and prepares an appetizer, main course, and a desert. The teams then present their prepared items to the judges.

Birmingham mayor William Bell and Virginia College's Birmingham Campus President Lisa Bacon presented the top three prizes to teams from Hewitt-Trussville High, Huntsville Center for Technology and Wenonah High, respectively. Thirteen Alabama high schools were represented at the event.

Family, Career and Community Leaders of America helps students address important personal, family, work, and societal issues through Family and Consumer Sciences education. FCCLA has more than 220,000 members and nearly 7,000 chapters across the country.