Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Scripps Ranch High teen chefs reign supreme in Iron Chef competition

The culinary arts teams from Hoover, Madison, Morse, San Diego, and Scripps Ranch high schools battled it out at “Kitchen Stadium” during the 11th Annual Teen Iron Chef Competition, with Scripps Ranch High edging out the competition for the second consecutive year.
 Scripps Ranch Students, teacher
 The Scripps Ranch team with teacher Kimberly Coelho.

The students were challenged with the task of preparing a three-course meal featuring the secret ingredient, sun-dried tomatoes, which was announced just minutes before the start of competition. The ingredient had to be incorporated into at least one of the three courses.

The Scripps Ranch team of Alexis Howard, Marlene Freerksen and Lana Monteclar plated dishes that included Hiramasa Kingfish Tartare, pan-seared scallops and Meyer lemon cake with raspberry butter.

With support from their teachers, the students had one hour to prep their food and 10 minutes to plate the food for five judges. The five judges included Chef Bernard Guillas of the Marine Room; Ken Irvine of Irvine Hospitality; Chef Ricardo Heredia; U-T San Diego’s Chris Racan; and San Diego Unified’s own Cheryl Hibbeln.

The local chapter of the California Restaurant Association (CRA) and SDG&E partnered with San Diego Unified to host the event.

Also announced at the event was an award of $20,000 from SDG&E to the CRA to assist the culinary programs of San Diego Unified high schools. In addition, a scholarship for San Diego students was announced by the CRA’s San Diego Chapter in honor of Rick Ghio, the late co-owner/President/CEO of Anthony’s Fish Grotto. The scholarship is intended for students interested in a obtaining a four-year degree from the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management program at San Diego State University.

 Morse students
 Morse High students prepare their dishes.
The following students participated in the competition and prepared the following dishes:

Team Madison High School: Laura Garcia, Tam Nguyen, Lucy Trac, Angel Perez DeLeon
Teacher: Emilia Zelaya
Course 1: Seared Ahi Tuna With heirloom Salad and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Course 2: Shrimp Scampi with housemade Pasta
Course 3: Orange and crystalized ginger granite with Candied Citron

Team Morse High School: Jeremiah Panhwanh, Mauricio Silva, Reyes Hopster, Ricardo Chavez
Teacher: Sara Smith Piatt
Course 1: Shrimp with Green Curry Sauce --Wild Caught Shrimp with Roasted Pearl Onions, Baby Golden Beets and Scallion
Course 2: Surf and Turf - Peppercorn Roasted Filet Mignon with Pan Smoked Mushrooms, Lobster Spaetzel, Rainbow Carrots and Brussels Sprout Leaves
Course 3: Gone Bananas - A trio of Banana Empanadas , Caramelized Banana Scallops, Banana Scallops and Fresh Caramel Drizzle

Team San Diego High School: Emily Rodriquez, Michel Mariscal, Adrian Salazar, Christian Vo
Teacher: Brian Murphy
Course 1: Crisp Ravioli, Tomato, herb and cheese ravioli creamy smoked artichoke sauce
Course 2: Chilean Sea Bass, miso sea bass with squash blossom, green tea pasta, vegetables four ways,
citrus vinegar broth
Course 3: Financier and White Chocolate Mousse, chocolate coco nib cookie crumble, bruleed citrus slices, blood orange caramel

Team Hoover High School: Maiya Clinton, Rubie Perez, Arlene Guzman, Marina Valle
Teacher: Pamela Dahlin
Course 1: Italian Wedding Soup
Course 2: Shrimp Pasta
Course 3: Raspberry Tart

Now in its 10th year, the Teen Iron Chef competition was started by College, Career & Technical Education teacher, Zhee Zhee Aguirre, and modeled after the Food Network’s Iron Chef America Series.

Students have the opportunity to develop their ideas, go shopping, portion their protein and measure any dry or liquid ingredients the day before the event. They are not allowed to do any actual cooking, pre-making dough, or premixing ingredients ahead of time. On the day of the competition, they are presented with a secret ingredient that changes every year and must be incorporated into at least one of their three courses. They are allowed to have their recipes or prep-list at the station during the competition.

For more information about the event or culinary programs at San Diego Unified high schools, contact Lance Larson at or 858-503-1744.