Pelham Park students place at countywide cook-off

PELHAM – Two Pelham Park Middle School students placed in the Shelby County Cook-off on Thursday, Feb. 15, at the University of Montevallo.

Student Avery Fuller won first place in the dairy/dessert category with a homemade strawberry shortcake dish and student Laci Howard placed second in the chicken category with a Hawaiian chicken dish, according to Pelham Park’s family and consumer science teacher Pam Simpson.

Simpson said her culinary students first competed against each other for the opportunity to participate in the countywide cook-off, which featured separate categories for middle and high school students.

“The ones who won at the school-level went on to compete at the countywide competition,” Simpson said.

At the Shelby County Cook-off, students were judged on taste, nutritive value, visual presentation and an evaluation of their recipe. Simpson said recipes could not contain excess amounts of fat and sodium.

“The fact that Avery’s dessert included fresh strawberries really helped balance it out,” Simpson said.

The students cooked and prepared all of the food prior to the competition and were given about 20 minutes to set up and plate their dishes during the competition. Teachers and parents were not allowed to assist.

“It’s something that I look forward to every year,” Simpson said. “We have some really talented students. Avery’s our budding pastry chef. I think she hopes to one day have her own bakery.”

At last year’s countywide competition Fuller placed first in the beef category with her Lissy’s Baby Bleu Salad creation and second in the dairy dessert category with her dulce de leche cheesecake recipe.

At Alabama Cattlemen’s Association’s 2017 Junior Beef Cook-off Fuller placed second in the Junior South Division with her Lissy’s Baby Bleu Salad.