Charleston Day School
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A Culinary Competition

May 15

Six middle school students recently participated in a friendly (and tasty!) culinary competition. In addition, the event raised funds for local nonprofits, thanks to a “Food Fight” program spearheaded by FLIK Independent School Dining (FISD).

In order to to learn culinary fundamentals including recipe creation, menu preparation, cooking terminology, and knife safety and skills, Charleston Day’s young chefs worked alongside the School’s Head Chef, Keith Warren, for several weeks leading up to the competition.

Charleston Day cooking team plating foodOn May 8, the training came together for a culinary competition of epic proportions! The CDS chefs faced cooking teams from Porter-Gaud and Charleston Collegiate in two rounds of fast-paced food preparation. Each round’s dishes were tasted and judged by Chef & Owner of Charleston’s da Toscano, Michael Toscano, and FISD’s VP of Operations, Adam Byrne. Celebrity chef and Food Network star, Aarti Sequeira, served as master of ceremonies.

Preparing for the Competition

Part knowledge retention and trivia, part culinary competition, these teams of students worked together and put their problem-solving, leadership, and team-building skills to the test. All teams used the same basic recipes for Spiced Southern Corn Cakes with Slaw and Chicken Tikka Masala with Basmati Rice. Part of the weekly preparation ahead of the competition was to not only become familiar with the recipes, but to also make each dish unique.

Charleston Day cooking team preparing for competitionDuring the weekly practice sessions after school, the team experimented with ingredients and tweaked parts of the competition recipes to put a personal Charleston Day spin on the flavors. Chef Keith commented, “The Food Fight competition reinforced team building, good sportsmanship, creativity, and life skills.”

Benefits of Culinary Skills

Introducing cooking skills in middle school equips students with practical knowledge that positively impacts their health, independence, and creativity. Because of their participation in the Food Fight competition, our cooking team had the opportunity to experience new cuisine and learn basic cooking techniques that will stay with them in high school and beyond. Charleston Day cooking team“The Food Fight cooking competition has been a great complement to our school’s academic program. Cooking involves creative problem-solving, math skills, troubleshooting kitchen mishaps, and adapting to ingredient substitutions. These are life skills we reinforce with our students every day. Plus, it was a fun way to learn and reinforce teamwork,” noted Ms. Arnstein, Head of School.

Read more about the event here. To learn about Charleston Day’s dining program, visit this page.

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