Oak Harbor High School’s state championship culinary arts team didn’t place in the top five at nationals Monday. The top spot was taken by a team from Kansas.
But their mentor said they cooked flawlessly and had the time of their lives competing against the top teams in the nation at the National ProStart Invitational at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, Calif.
“Cooking is subjective,” said Scott Fraser, owner of Frasers Gourmet Hideaway and mentor to the Oak Harbor students. “There are so many good teams. This is the best of 6,000.”
“It’s quite an accomplishment to be in the top 50.”
Fraser said he’d heard less than a point separated the top 15 teams. As of Tuesday, only the top five teams had been announced.
“We did well. We thought it went perfectly,” said Patrick Salgado, the culinary team’s captain.
Salgado was accepted into a prestigious culinary arts school and plans to make this his life’s work. He said he loves cooking because “it can reflect your emotions as an art form.”
The other members of the team are Dylan Crogan, Angela Cueto, Lance Garon and Patrick Punch. All are seniors at Oak Harbor High School enrolled in a culinary arts program led by teacher and chef Mary Arthur.
The students have spent hours daily preparing for the competition. While they were disappointed they didn’t place in the top five, Salgado said they were taking it in stride.
“We just want to thank the Oak Harbor community for allowing this to happen and supporting us with fundraising,” he said.
The students were judged on knife skills and preparation, including how they packaged and transported all of their supplies. The team brought everything with them on the plane.
Monday they had one hour to cook a three-course meal using nothing but two butane burners set up on folding tables.
No running water, no refrigerators and no fancy stoves.
They prepared a Pacific Rim–inspired menu consisting of an appetizer of Korean pork bone soup containing shrimp noodles and a slow poached egg; a main entree featuring lamb loin encrusted with pistachio and cranberry sausage served with oxtail barley and creamed stinging nettles; and a flocked white chocolate peanut butter bar with a banana cream sauce and brulee pearls.