PHS students compete in World Food Championships

Published 2:06 pm Monday, November 19, 2018

PELHAM – Two Pelham High School students traveled to Orange Beach from Nov. 7-9 to compete against professional chefs and experienced home cooks at the World Food Championships (WFC), which drew competitors from throughout the United States and abroad.

Madison Ward and Maddie Goatley, both juniors, competed in the bacon category with Culinary Arts teacher Chef Douglas Allen. The team created two dishes, pizza and a signature dish.

The team’s pizza was sweet and savory with chili powder infused bacon jam serving as the sauce and bacon, mozzarella cheese and spinach as the toppings. Nino’s Italian Restaurant made the team’s pizza dough.

Their signature dish featured bacon that was battered and fried like chicken atop waffles drizzled in maple-bacon praline syrup.

To make it to the WFC, the team won first place at a qualifying competition at Jefferson State Community College. This year marked the school’s first time competing in an international competition, and Allen said he was proud of how Goatley and Ward represented PHS.

“We got so many compliments from other chefs who watched how calm they were and how clean their station was,” Allen said. “The film and camera crews wouldn’t leave them alone. Every time we turned around they were there taking pictures and filming. They were the only high school team in the competition and I am so proud of their performance at that level of competition. They handled themselves so well.”

In the bacon category, the team placed 28th out of 40 teams. Overall, the team placed 98th out of more than 300 teams in the competition.

“It was cool getting to compete against professional chefs and home cooks who have been doing this for years,” Ward said.

Ward and Goatley have been involved with Pelham City Schools’ culinary program since middle school. Competing at the WFC is a memory Goatley said she will cherish for years to come.

“Not to mention it looks great on a college application,” Ward added.