IRMO – Teams representing six elementary schools and an intermediate school from Lexington-Richland School District Five all waited anxiously to hear who was crowned champion of the 2018 School District Five “Chopped” competition held on June 5 at the Center for Advanced Technical Studies.
School District Five Superintendent-elect and guest judge Dr. Christina Melton unveiled the winning dish of a barbecue pork wrap with a pimento cheese and broccoli salad created by Chapin Intermediate School. The team consisted of Josie Frick, Maya Turner, Allie Whetmore and team leader Rochelle Ramos Loupias.
“I am speechless,” Frick said. “I can’t believe we just won Chopped!”
Turner added, “We worked so hard as a team and it is such a great feeling to win!”
Chapin Intermediate battled it out for 45 minutes in the kitchen with Chapin Elementary, Harbison West Elementary, H. E. Corley Elementary, Irmo Elementary, Lake Murray Elementary and River Springs Elementary. Teams were given four mystery ingredients to utilize in their dish. Apples, Brookwood barbecue from North Carolina, broccoli and pimento cheese had to be incorporated into each team’s plate. Teams also had access to a pantry with other ingredients.
Upon completing their meals, teams presented them to a panel of guest judges who scored them on food safety and sanitation, creativity, team work, taste and presentation. The judges in addition to Melton included: Brian McConchie, news anchor at WACH Fox; Stephanie Sox of SC Farm Bureau and SC Farmer magazine; and Susan Ardis of The State newspaper.
“Overall, I was extremely impressed with how well each team worked with each other,” McConchie said. “When the mystery ingredients were given, there was no panic from these students. They all immediately seemed to have an idea of what they wanted to cook, and I can tell you, the deliberations were not easy for us at all. Congratulations to Chapin Intermediate and all the contestants on a job well done!”
School District Five director of student nutrition Todd Bedenbaugh was nearly speechless after the competition was finished.
“When we started this event a few years ago, we never could have imagined how far it has come,” Bedenbaugh said. “It is amazing to see how advanced our young students are and how knowledgeable they already are about working with food in the kitchen. I am so thankful to all of our supporters in School District Five, especially Dr. Al Gates at The Center who allows us to use their facilities. And this all would not even be possible without our café managers, our student culinary mentors and of course all the wonderful parents in our community!”
Melton echoed those thoughts adding, “I was blown away by the creativity of these young students. There were a few dishes today that we will certainly need recipes for because they were delicious. I am so proud of all of the students who competed today, and for the bright futures they have ahead of them in School District Five!”