Harlem High School culinary arts instructor Barbara Howard (second from left) helps her students Ashleigh Pangelinan (from left), Anthony Zimmerman and Cassandra Heim prepare for a national cooking competition that will be held in Chicago this week.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Harlem High School's culinary competition team has packed its bags and is headed to the Windy City today.
The three-member team will compete with the best junior chefs in the nation at the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) National Leadership Meeting in Chicago, Ill., which ends Thursday. There, they will compete against 50 other teams. Besides cooking their way to glory, students have the opportunity to win college scholarships.
Members of the Harlem High team are: Cassandra Heim, a rising junior; Ashleigh Pangelinan, a rising senior; and Anthony Zimmerman, a rising senior.
Cassandra, 15, is the daughter of William and Phyllis Heim of Grovetown. Ashleigh, 17, is the daughter of Ramon and Wilmoth Pangelinan of Harlem. Anthony, 18, is the son of Michael and Sandra Williams of Grovetown and Clark Zimmerman and Mary Morris of Augusta.
On March 20, Harlem's team won the regional competition in Jefferson County, and on April 16, they won first place at the Georgia FCCLA State Culinary Arts Competition in Atlanta. This is the first year Harlem High School's professional kitchen has been in operation.
Pangelinan peels carrots as she and her teammates practice for the national competition.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
The team called upon the community to help them raise the money needed to take them to the national competition. The original goal was $8,000, but they were able to purchase discount plane tickets. In the final days of the school year, culinary students sold chocolate-dipped strawberries and cake slices at $1 apiece to raise money.
"The Lord works in such mysterious ways," said Barbara Howard, the students' ProStart instructor. "I went to the school, and there was an envelope from a lady, and she donated $100 from the goodness of her heart. That's the kind of things people are doing."
Just as in the regional and state competition, the culinary team will be given recipes they've never seen before and have 60 minutes to prepare a main dish, side dish, dessert and salad.
The team began practicing Wednesday. The culinary instructor from Augusta Technical College also volunteered to help the students with their knife skills.
"It gives me chills to know the community is that impressed by these students to support them," Howard said.
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