Apex’s very own FCCLA team won North Carolina’s FCCLA Culinary Competition on Feb. 12, 2016. Apex’s team consisted of sophomore Claire Garner, sophomore Alyssa Killingsworth, and junior Megan Hirst. The competition was located in Charlotte, North Carolina at Johnson and Wales University. Nine teams went head to head and had one hour to complete the recipe. The recipe that was chosen was steak with Dijon shallot sauce with green beans, mushrooms, caesar salad, and lady fingers as side dishes. The team will attend the national competition in San Diego this summer. I talked to team member Claire Garner to get the inside scoop of what she took away from the experience.
What was the process behind getting on the Apex FCCLA competition team?
“To get on the team, we had to choose a recipe to make from the menu. After making the dish, we would be judged by other teachers to see which plates were the best. Luckily only three people were interested in taking on this challenge, each then deserving a spot on the team. From there blood, sweat, and some tears were shed as we put hard work and lots of practice into preparing for this competition.”
What did your team do to prepare for this competition?
“Although it was really fun, preparing for this was a lot of work. We put practice in almost every day during class, lunch, and after school. We knew the possible recipes that we would have to make during the competition, so we made each recipe multiple times until we perfected them. Ms. Hoskins was a huge help in our success. She always told us what we did well and what we did wrong, which helped shape us into the team that we are now.”
What was your favorite part of this experience?
“Besides winning (says jokingly), I really enjoyed the bonding experience with my fellow teammates. We got to do a lot of fun activities together, such as getting a tour of Johnson and Wales University. This was really cool to see real chefs in action. Overall, I loved everything that went into the process. I got to test my skills in the real world, and I loved that it paid off.”
Is there anything you regret or feel you could have done differently?
“I could have cut the steak. It sounds funny, but coming from a chef’s perspective it would have been better if I cut the steak rather than just slapping it on the plate.”
What were you worried about going into the competition?
“Going into the competition, it was very exciting but very nerve-racking. The meal they had chosen was the one we practiced least, so there was obviously that feeling of worry there.”
Who did what task when it came to making the meal?
“I originally was just on steak. Alyssa had to do the caesar salad, green beans, and mushrooms. Lastly, Megan had to do the lady fingers. What ended up happening was after I finished cooking the steak, I realized with eight minutes left that Alyssa had not yet begun the green beans and mushrooms. I decided to help Alyssa and test the clock. I wanted Alyssa to focus on the salad because it was very important just like everything else. Luckily, I finished at the last second. More could have been done, but one hour goes by so fast. In the end I would not change a thing; my team and I did a great job compromising and working together.”
What was it like after you finished making the meal?
“I was very proud of my team because we were one of the only teams that had managed to finish everything. It was a great feeling to look over and see we had finished everything. After seeing that, our team had a pretty good feeling we could actually win this.”
Where do you as a team go from here?
“We are so excited about our win, and this summer we head to San Diego for the national competition. We will be able to converse with other young chefs from every state including Puerto Rico! Overall, we will grow to be even better chefs and are so excited for what is in store. Thank you to everyone who supported and helped us get to this point.”
Congratulations girls! Apex is very proud of what you have accomplished for not only the school but for yourselves. Go Cougars!