Thursday, February 14, 2013

MEDIA ADVISORY -- High School Chefs Face Off on Feb. 20

MEDIA ADVISORY from the San Diego Unified School District, February 14,


WHAT: San Diego Unified School District Culinary Arts and Management
students from Hoover High, Madison High, Mira Mesa High, San Diego High,
and Scripps Ranch High battle each other preparing a three-course meal
with a secret ingredient. The competition is based on the Iron Chef
America Series on the Food Network.

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 20
-- 3:30 p.m. ­ Students arrive to set up; introduction of judges;
announcement of secret ingredient
-- 4-5 p.m. ­ One-hour timed competition; all cutting, mixing, food prep
-- 5-5:10 p.m. ­ Plating and presentation to judges
-- 5:10-6:00 p.m. ­ Judging occurs
-- 6 p.m. ­ Announcement of winning team

WHERE: SDG&E Sempra Energy Innovation Center, 4760 Clairemont Mesa
Boulevard, SD (Kearny Mesa) 92117. Media parking will be available in main
lot. Phone: (800) 613-8970

VISUALS: High school students cooking and serving meals during
competition, judges evaluating meals, winning team awards ceremony.

GUEST SPEAKERS/INTERVIEWS: students, teachers, industry judges. (Spanish
as well)

BACKGROUND: Teen Iron Chef was the brain child of College, Career &
Technical Education (CCTE) teacher Zhee Zhee Aguirre. She wanted her
students to experience competitive cooking and based the San Diego Unified
School District¹s competition on the Iron Chef America Series on the Food

Students are able to work on their ideas, go shopping, portion their
protein and measure any dry or liquid ingredients the day before. 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 will be
presented with a secret ingredient that 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.

Five schools will compete this year with Hoover High School making its
first year debut under the direction of CCTE teacher, Pam Dahlin, with the
help of mentor, Jeff Lewis, from the San Diego Culinary Institute.
Returning teams include: Madison High School, guided by CCTE teacher,
Justin Halbert, with the help of mentor, Emily Obeso, from the Manchester
Grand Hyatt; Mira Mesa High School, guided by CCTE teacher, Zhee Zhee
Aguirre and mentor Juan Esquivel form Bully¹s; San Diego High School with
CCTE teacher, Brian Murphy; and Scripps Ranch High School with CCTE
teacher, Kimberly Coelho.

Three teams, Madison, Mira Mesa, and San Diego, have team members who have
participated in the Teen Iron Chef competitions in the past. Vannak
Seang, from Mira Mesa, competed last year and says, ³It is so much fun and
makes all of our classroom cooking projects more meaningful because we are
cooking for professional judges.² Michael Nylund, a senior at San Diego
High said ³It is a tremendous experience. It makes us all very nervous,
but it is worth the thrill.² Jessica Vasquez, a senior at Madison, is
also a returning competitor.

To keep the competition fresh and to not give any team an advantage, the
competition location is changed every year along with the secret
ingredient. Some of the secret ingredients from previous years include
calamari, brie, balsamic vinegar, prosciutto, and cantaloupe. Many of the
schools hold mock competitions in the week leading up the event in order
to select the students for the team or practice the nuts and bolts of the

The Culinary Arts and Management course in the San Diego Unified School
District is supported by the Office of College, Career & Technical

# # #

Lisa McDonnell
Communications & Operations Associate
Office of College, Career & Technical Education
(858) 503-1841 (direct)
(619) 306-3957 (mobile)

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