Davis HS culinary students sharpen their skills at charity event

Davis High School students had the opportunity to help raise money for charity and put their culinary skills to use at the Ronald McDonald House Charities Red Shoe Chef Challenge 2015.

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Dozens of students in the school’s culinary arts program spent hours making about 1,300 hors d’oeuvres on Oct. 8 that would be served to the approximately 350 attendees. More than 20 students were involved in the morning shift, and a second crew of students came in to complete the dishes.

Chef Tim Mehne and his wife, Kim, who supervised the students during the preparation of the hors d’oeuvres, said he has worked in the food industry for more than 40 years and described the students as “rock stars.”

“We were both amazed that they didn’t act like teenagers,” Mehne said. “They acted like young professionals who had a task ahead of them.”

Four Davis students were selected to serve as sous chefs to four local chefs who competed in the event. All of the dishes were made with McDonald’s menu items. They helped create dishes such as a Filet-O-Fish parfait, barbecue nachos, and a chili-lime tortilla-crusted chicken bite with special salsa.

Chef David Hill, an instructor at Davis HS, said the students participated in a three-week training program to prepare for the event. The students learned about safety and sanitation, knife skills, and preparation techniques with Chef Jennifer Cadengo.

“The three-week training proved to be a valuable use of our time,” Hill said. “The students were so well-prepared that they performed better than any of us ever imagined. Chef Cadengo and I, after the event was over, felt like proud parents watching our students transformed into professionals in an extremely pressure-filled work environment.”

The students have just as much admiration for their teachers. A few days before the event, on World Teacher Day, the students prepared lunch for the school’s entire staff. Students used ingredients donated by H-E-B to create a three-course meal from scratch.