As a part of a yearly tradition, grade 10 Grasso Tech Culinary Arts students participated in a “Chopp-ED Competition”, modeled off the popular television show Chopped. This comprehensive challenge for the students serves as a graduation activity where they utilize the culinary skills they’ve learned as underclassmen as they transition to the more public facing “restaurant” side of the kitchen as upperclassmen.
While some elements of the competition may fluctuate slightly from year to year, the structure remains the same – each competitor makes a dish per round that is blindly judged by a knowledgeable panel. This year, the students competed in four rounds of challenges; Knife Skills, Chicken, Soup, and Plated Dessert.
In Round 1: Knife Skills – Students were given 10 minutes to produce at least a half cup of carrots cut into a small dice and were judged on consistency, accuracy, and utilization. From here, the top eight plates move on to the next round.
In Round 2: Chicken – Students were given a piece of chicken, a mystery vegetable, and were directed to include a cooked grain in their dish. In this round, the students determine the method they want to utilize when cooking the chicken (roasting, grilling, sautéing, frying, etc.) and which grain they’d like to use (rice, polenta, barley, etc.), in addition to developing their seasoning profile within a two-hour time limit. From here, the top four students move on to the next round.
In Round 3: Soup – Students were challenged to create a soup of their choice using any ingredients found in the kitchen. They were permitted one-hour of preparation time the day before the challenge and three hours the day of. From here, only two students move into the next round.
In the Final Round: Plated Dessert – The remaining two students were challenged to come up with a restaurant-quality plated dessert within three hours. The best overall dessert was declared the winner!
A huge congratulations to Caleb Pollard, Grasso Tech Culinary Arts Class of 2023, the winner of this year’s Ella T. Grasso Technical High School Chopp-ED Competition.