Students shine at FVSD 2019 Iron Chef Competition

The time had come to once again answer life’s most savoury question: Whose FVSD cuisine reigns supreme?

On Saturday, Oct. 26, students from across the school division descended on High Level Public School to find out at the FVSD 2019 Iron Chef Competition.

Based on a popular Japanese cooking competition that caught fire in North America, the FVSD Iron Chef Competition features teams of students from different schools competing in a timed cooking event. The challenge is complicated with the addition of a “surprise ingredient” which must be incorporated into the recipe.

Teams competed in their grade group across three categories: Appetizer, Main Course, and Dessert. And while all of the teams involved put forth strong efforts and presented the judges with truly inspired works of culinary art, in the end, there could be only one team in each category to claim the crown of Iron Chef.

The Iron Chef Competition is a way for FVSD to provide diverse experiences as well as opportunities for students whose passions may lie in other areas than sports. This was the second year of hosting for HLPS, and the day featured more than just competition – there were also a number of stations for students to explore to expand on their knowledge of cooking while provided interesting experiences.

“We tried to add more to the day than just the competition, so we did have the other centres for the kids coming in from La Crete, Fort Vermilion, and Buffalo Head and Rocky Lane – just to sit all day and wait their turn would be a long day for them,” said Anna McAskile, Principal at High Level Public School. “So we tried to add some different tastes to the event. And they were all cooking-related activities.”

One of the stations was making fire-cooked bannock in the school’s tee pee.

“We just said, ‘Let’s go for it!’” McAskile said. “It’s new to a lot of kids and they haven’t done it before. And we were able to take advantage of using our new tee pee.”

Other stations included hands-on demonstrations on making fruit salad, guacamole, and even a cupcake-decorating station set up and manned by volunteers from Kevin’s Your Independent Grocers.

The stations were just one of the changes made to the competition as the even evolves over time. There have also been some changes to how the competition itself takes place.

“It used to be that they would come in and get time to brainstorm a recipe, and then they would just go for it,” said McAskile. “The materials weren’t specific.

“Last year, we decided to cut back on the waste. So we gave the schools three possible choices for what the ingredients could be. They still wouldn’t know what the secret ingredient was until they came to the event.”

The recipes were submitted ahead of time and had to be something which could incorporate all three secret ingredients. Once that recipe was submitted, organizers were able to purchase food suited to the plans of the students and even sort the ingredients into boxes so everything was ready to go once the clock started.

McAskile said the preplanning made the event much calmer for the students, as they had some idea of what to expect and were able to prepare for it.

“This way you get to see more of their skill, their teamwork when they work together, and seeing how they can come up with a product,” she said.

The results were imaginative, quality creations that impressed with their appearance as well as their taste.

“Every year the quality gets better,” McAskile said.

Overall, she said the day was a big success enjoyed by all who attended. She also noted the layout of the school makes it an excellent site for hosting these types of events.

“We have one more year to host it at HLPS,” she said.

Here are the FVSD 2019 Iron Chef Competition winners:

Appetizer – secret ingredient, salami

  1. Buffalo Head Prairie School
  2. La Crete Public School
  3. Hill Crest Community School

Main Course – secret ingredient, squash

  1. High Level Public School
  2. Fort Vermilion Public School
  3. La Crete Public School

Dessert – secret ingredient, coconut

  1. Ridgeview Central School
  2. Rocky Lane School
  3. Buffalo Head Prairie School