The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School


Cavaliers Cinch Culinary Challenge at MDC Innov@te-CTEC

Giving a scrumptious taste to the judges’s mouths, the teams bring out their culinary artwork into the competition
Courtesy of Mr. Flores
The winning Cavaliers pose with their teachers and certificates, rewarded for their creativity during the contest with first place.

Under the pressure of time, the three chefs representing Coral Gables Senior High embarked on their tasks in the kitchen, each focused on chopping chicken breast, mixing a mustard and vinegar sauce and blending chocolate and egg yolks to craft custard. Through their collective efforts, the team resulted in triumphant “gold” certificates, marking their victory.

Continuing Gables’ streak in cooking excellence, Cavaliers from the Culinary Arts program compete with other schools every year in a multitude of competitions. Starting with the winter season on Dec. 2,  the ambitious Cavaliers took on the 10th Annual Innov@te Career Technical Education Challenge at Miami-Dade College Wolfson Campus.

“Outside of being in the same class period, we had never worked together before. Ms. Vera brought the competition up to us, and to the students she felt would most fit she put in a group for the competition,” junior Milanes said.

Judged on both presentation and taste, the team of three constructed a precise pairing of the two main courses, the breaded chicken and (Courtesy of Ms. Vera)

The Innov@te-CTEC comprises challenges in fields where students can obtain career and technical learning, encompassing culinary arts, early childhood education and engineering. Representing Gables at the Miami Culinary Institute within the campus were juniors Samantha “Levi” Perez, Justin Milanes and Timothee Chiquillo, guided by mentors Ms. Vera and Mr. Flores-Interiano.

Practicing their dishes of clam chowder, breaded chicken with rice pilaf vegetables and chocolate custard individually at first, the team later unified their efforts, optimizing their process during the allotted time of two hours and thirty minutes. To ease the competition smoothly, each member of the team focused on a dish according to their strengths. Milanes handled the clam chowder, vegetables and rice for the main course, Perez was in charge of the chicken, while Chiquillo prepared the chocolate custard and a marinade for the vegetables. 

“We had three days of practice before Saturday [day of the competition], twice a day. In the morning, we did the dishes individually and then later that day, we worked as a team,” senior Chiquillo said.

On the day of the competition, the Cavaliers arrived early at 7:45 a.m. After an hour and a half of preparation, the competition started and the challenge presented itself. Entering a professional kitchen, the three set out to ace the criteria on cleanliness, presentation and taste.

“We had about three to four hours to cook everything, which was originally two and a half, so it really helped us. Essentially, we prepared the first course and then would send it up to the judges and then get judged and then continue the rest of the cooking,” junior Levi said.

After finishing the lengthy endeavor of cooking, the competing teams were led to a room with a raised platform where the winners of each competition were announced. Joining winning teams from other schools in different categories, the Cavaliers were called up to receive their gold first-place certificates.

“At first, I was nervous about competing, but once we were there, we were just going with the flow. I enjoyed the experience and can confidently say I’m looking forward to more competitions in the future,” Milanes said.

As the team of three celebrate their victory, they look forward to Family, Career and Community Leaders of America District competitions in culinary and baking, where they will represent Gables again and be evaluated by FCCLA judges later this month.

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About the Contributor
Elijah Cima
Elijah Cima, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Elijah Cima is a senior in the Business Management and Information Technology academy coming in to his first (and only) year as a Staff Writer for CavsConnect. He joined CavsConnect hoping to improve his writing skills and get to know what writing in collaboration with an editor is like. He is a music nerd whose sense of fashion is wearing band shirts with baggy pants and loves listening to new music (mostly heavy metal sub genres). His favorite artists range from David Bowie to Opeth, Elliott Smith to Chief Keef and Ween to Playboi Carti. Elijah also enjoys reading, hanging out with friends, video games, playing piano, learning obscure trivia and creative writing. He hopes that his experience with CavsConnect will lead him to grow not only as a writer but as a person and lead him closer to his goal of becoming a published fiction author.
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