Students in the Warren Woods Tower High School culinary arts program have reason to celebrate after their dessert won first-place at a recent event.
Their bite-sized Caledonian cream parfaits with chocolate drizzle and gingersnap cookies were the favorite among approximately 150 guests who attended the Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union’s appreciation luncheon Dec. 4.
The event was held inside the atrium of the Macomb Intermediate School District building.
Students Amanda Walker, Annamarie Dorman, Noah Hartson, Sara Doehring and Stefanie Degiovanni made the winning dessert, winning a $350 gold medal cash award from MSGCU. Pies, flans, cakes, cookies, brownies and fruit were eligible for the contest.
“Everyone that attended this luncheon was able to vote,” said Sandra Adams, who co-teaches the WWTHS cooking class with Nick Silwanowicz.
The attendees voted via texting, and those in the contest had their eyes glued to a large score board on the wall to track who was in the lead. The Warren Woods Tower kids were behind but then caught up to win top honors.
For their dessert, the budding cooks lined a small cup with crumbled gingersnap cookies and then added a layer of chocolate ganache. Layers of the Caledonian orange custard, which Adams said is a Scottish custard, came next, followed by a little more chocolate, top offed with whipped cream and a tiny spoon. The students worked in an assembly-line fashion.
“It looked awesome. It tasted awesome,” Adams said. “We had fun. Of course, I was so proud of them. It is added work I am giving them. They picked up the ball and ran with it and won.”
Much practice went into making the sweet treat.
“They did the footwork. Every single bit is thought-out,” Adams said.
“It was enjoyable to see the kids get excited,” Silwanowicz said. In class, Adams and Silwanowicz work with the students on various lessons. Some students show strong interest in attending culinary arts school in college, while others just want to acquire some cooking skills.
The students served the sweet treat, along with grilled chicken salad and tomato basil soup, during a luncheon Dec. 10 with principals and counselors from local schools at the WWTHS Titan Terrace restaurant, which is open for business.
Doehring, a WWT senior, has been in the school’s culinary arts program three years. She especially likes making pastries.
“Everybody has a common interest when they are here,” she said. “Team work is very important.”
Approximately six local high schools participated in the contest, including Lincoln High School, which won second place for its petit fours.
“It’s a traditional French favorite pound cake with raspberry on the inside,” LHS culinary arts instructor and chef Ramon Herrera said. “The miniature cake is coated with marzipan, which is an almond paste.”
Herrera said the entire pastry was made from scratch, and creating the dessert was “a very, very lengthy process.”
It was the talent and hard work of students Tavon Wisdom, Micheal Neal, Salena Whitworth, Stepahnie Sherman and Kim Kraecher that earned a second-place win.
“They were very happy about it,” Herrera said. “They were very satisfied. It was our first time competing.”
When not competing, the students cater affairs within the school’s district, which is Van Dyke Public Schools, and also run the school’s Abes Café.
“Our objective is to produce as much sustainable product as possible,” Herrera said. “Everything is made from scratch. We want to go traditional but with a twist.”
A patron favorite is the Cuban pork sandwich made with Asian slaw. The cooks also make their own pickles.
The culinary arts classes at both Warren Woods and Lincoln are part of the Southwest Macomb Technical Education Consortium. SMTEC is a partnership between the Center Line, Fitzgerald, Van Dyke and Warren Woods to provide career technical education to 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders. A variety of programs are offered.
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