January 13, 2009
If there is one way to get high school kids motivated, just mention the word Pizza! Recently, in Milwaukie, Oregon, student chefs competed to create the best tasting, lower calorie pizza using ingredients from contest sponsors Bobs Red Mill Natural Foods and alternative cheese maker Lisanatti Foods.
Students kicked off the challenge last November in elective culinary courses at the Sabin-Schellenberg Professional Technical Center. Six semi-finalist teams then presented their pizzas to a panel of local celebrities and culinary experts including food personalities from Northwest Palate Magazine, PortlandFoodandDrink.com, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Student teams developed and presented their pizzas and had their work critiqued just as real chefs do, experiencing what a career in the culinary world is like, said Bob Moore, founder and president of Bobs Red Mill.
The pizzas were graded on taste, creativity, and presentation, with one winning team in each of two categories: traditional vegetarian and gluten-free vegetarian. Winners received $1,000 in cooking supply gift certificates and dinner at a four-star gourmet restaurant. The sponsors donated $2,000 worth of cooking equipment to the technical center.
Jolia Sidona Allen, Associate Editor/Web Editor