Oak Grove Culinary Arts Team wins first in state


Culinary Arts students from Oak Grove High School recently won first place at the state Jr. Chef competition in Raymond. The team is made up of Aleiyah Luenig-McGee, Bethanie Pheal, Vikayla Oatis and Donovan Reid.

The Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of Child Nutrition sponsored the “Savor the Flavor of Mississippi” Jr. Chef Competition. The Oak Grove team, titled “Smokin’ Hot,” qualified for participation in the state competition by winning first place in the regional Jr. Chef competition in October. Now, the team will move on to compete in the national USDA Jr. Chef Competition May 9 and 10 in Kentucky. The winning “Creole Smoked Chicken Wrap” prepared by the Oak Grove students at the state competition earned each of them a $16,000 scholarship to Sullivan University in Kentucky. 

The national USDA Jr. Chef culinary competition engages high school students across the Southeast regions (Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee) with an opportunity to demonstrate their culinary skills in a competitive environment.The Jr. Chef competition prepares students for important culinary career skills such as teamwork, organization, menu planning, recipe development, food preparation, marketing, public presentation, and community involvement.

Six to eight weeks before the competition, student teams must submit for review a nutritious and student-friendly recipe that is both appetizing and appealing. The recipes must include locally- grown products and comply with National School Lunch Program requirements. All preparation and cooking of the food must be done on site during the competition and must be completed within 90 minutes. The completed dish will be judged on appearance, taste/texture, ingredients/feasibility, and originality/student appeal. The students’ knowledge and understanding will also be evaluated based on their ability to speak with judges and answer questions articulately and professionally.

The OGHS Culinary Arts team is seeking sponsors to help with hotel accommodations, student meals, and miscellaneous travel expenses.  Anyone wishing to help sponsor this team should contact Culinary Arts instructor Debbie Miller at (601) 264-7232 or debbie.miller@lamark12.org.