Culinary students honored for gold, bronze wins at state competition

J. H. Osborne • May 15, 2017 at 10:30 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Five students from Sullivan Central High School’s culinary arts program got a standing ovation Monday from the Sullivan County Commission for recent wins in a statewide competition. They’ll compete next month at the national level.

Students with the school’s culinary arts program prepared and served locally-grown products for the “Farm-to-Fork” dinner last September. That event was a fundraiser for the program, the Blountville Farmers Market and the local UT Agricultural Extension Office and featured a six-course meal served on a long table smack in the middle of “The Great Stage Road,” as State Route 126 is known, as it passes through the Blountville Historic District.

But it didn’t just end there, said chef Angel Welch, the culinary arts instructor at Sullivan Central.

 “We took that experience that we got and these (students) actually went to competition with that at state level, where they actually won gold,” Welch said. “They had a five- to seven-minute presentation, a power point, a notebook that was included, they got interviewed by judges, and they displayed what we did as a county. So, you talk about the future of our schools and our kids — I’m proud to say Sullivan County is looking pretty bright.”

After the competition they had two days during which competitors from across the state could talk with them, Welch said.

“And other culinary arts instructors were so impressed with what we’re doing in Sullivan County and in Blountville, they wanted to know how we did Farm-to-Fork and how that worked ... versus working with a restaurant,” Welch said. “So the experience the kids got not only that day, but they will be taking it to national level in Louisville, Ky., in June. And they’ll be taking Farm-to-Fork, what we did in Blountville, for the whole nation to see and how we worked ... to do that.”

The students, their areas of competition and wins include: Amber Evans competed in restaurant service and took the gold medal; Hannah Ramsey competed in commercial baking and brought home the bronze medal; Allie Powell, Dylan Crowe and Conner Waye competed together in career pathway showcase and received gold medal recognition.

The second annual “Farm-to-Fork” dinner was Sept. 29, 2016.

The annual event is designed to showcase local produce and meats, while giving culinary students the opportunity to hone their skills in a practical setting.

The students prepared the food in modern kitchens included in renovations to the Ruteledge House beside the Deery Inn.

The menu for the 2016 event included: appetizers of bruschetta and pepper jelly with cream cheese; squash soup (probably German squash); braised beef (probably with a corn pudding); fresh seasonal vegetables; Sweetwater cheese and a pumpkin roll or apple pie for dessert.

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