Career and Technical Education (CTE) of St. Johns County

Mystery Basket Team Competition Ignites Student Aspirations

Students in the Academy of Culinary Arts at St. Johns Technical High School got to participate in the school’s first “Mystery Basket Cooking Competition.” The competition featured four teams of students paired with a professional chef from area restaurants. The students enjoyed some friendly competition while getting to hone their skills as well as increase their knowledge and confidence alongside experienced culinarians from the community.

The teams had to prepare four completed plates, three for the judges, and one for display, using all the ingredients in their “mystery basket.” The mystery ingredients included oranges, three varieties of potatoes and leeks. In addition, the chef instructors threw in two other ingredients, dragon fruit and milk chocolate, to be incorporated into their final dish featuring chicken.

All the teams did an outstanding job! Top honors went to Team Gator led by Chef Lance Cook of the Hammock Dunes Club. Congratulations to Team Gator students Breann K., Timothy G., Kendal H., and Kyleigh L.

Special thanks to guest chefs, Lance Cook, Hammock Dunes Club; Deeann Hobbs, Renaissance Resort at World Golf Village; Nellie Radcliff, Catch 27; Chip Richard, Cap’s on the Water. Thanks also to judges Kyle Forson, chef instructor at First Coast Technical College; John Whitworth, Colonial Quarter; Jessica Littlefield, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. The event emcee was Chef Amadeus, Chef Amadeus Culinary Concepts, Inc.

Students enrolled in the Academy of Culinary Arts at SJTHS are guided by real-world industry professionals, so they are career-ready upon graduation. The program offers a sequence of courses designed to provide rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant technical skills needed for further education and careers in the Culinary Arts. Hands-on laboratory activities such as safe food handling, tools and equipment skills, safety procedures as well as many levels and types of food preparation are all integral to the program. The academy focuses on all aspects of culinary arts with an emphasis on industry certifications for our students.

Story by: Danielle C. Taylor, SJCSD Coordinator – Social Media & Public Information