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Sandy Creek Middle School Students Become Iron Chefs

As part of the consumer science curriculum in the Sandy Creek Central School District, eighth graders recently showcased their cooking and collaboration skills in an “Iron Chef” competition.

The judges for Sandy Creek Middle School’s “Iron Chef” competition deliberate to determine the winner of the recent cook-off. From left are library media staff member Carin Nemier, Principal Carolyn Shirley, teacher Jim Pelton and high school student Taylor Mullen.
The judges for Sandy Creek Middle School’s “Iron Chef” competition deliberate to determine the winner of the recent cook-off. From left are library media staff member Carin Nemier, Principal Carolyn Shirley, teacher Jim Pelton and high school student Taylor Mullen.

Just like the Food Network television show bearing the same name, students in Marissa Paquin’s family and consumer science class were given a secret ingredient (apples) to incorporate into their dishes.

The eighth graders created three different recipes with apples as they vied to impress a panel of judges comprised of Principal Carolyn Shirley, teacher Jim Pelton, library media staff member Carin Nemier and high school student Taylor Mullen, who is enrolled in the gourmet foods class.

“Each student in the group had their own responsibility,” Paquin said. “They all worked together to create a really tasty finished product.”

The judges tasted the creations, which included a gourmet caramel apple, a hybrid apple pie concoction, and a French apple cake.

Sandy Creek teacher Jim Pelton enjoys a bite of stuffed apple pie while high school student Taylor Mullen begins compiling scores during the recent “Iron Chef” competition held in the school library.
Sandy Creek teacher Jim Pelton enjoys a bite of stuffed apple pie while high school student Taylor Mullen begins compiling scores during the recent “Iron Chef” competition held in the school library.

With each bite, the judges had to consider taste, food presentation, originality and group project presentation.

“It was hard to decide a winner,” Principal Shirley said. “All the groups did a great job. Some were stronger in certain areas, which made it very close when we calculated the overall scores.”

However, after much deliberation and once the scores were tabulated, the team of Courtney Burns, Abbey Fitzpatrick and Emily Melucci emerged victorious.

Principal Carolyn Shirley presents a first place medal to Abbey Fitzpatrick, whose team won the Iron Chef competition.
Principal Carolyn Shirley presents a first place medal to Abbey Fitzpatrick, whose team won the Iron Chef competition.

Their winning recipe, which was a Granny Smith apple topped with decadent caramel and a chocolate drizzle, delighted the judges’ taste buds.

While the finished product was the focal point of the competition, Paquin noted that the project also incorporated a variety of academic skills and soft skills as well.

The students had to research recipes, create posters, use math to measure ingredients, deliver an oral presentation and examine nutritional information as part of the project.