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Diman students square off to test culinary chops

 Fall River's Diman students square off to test culinary chops

Student-Prepared DishesDish
By Marc Munroe Dion
Herald News Staff Reporter
Posted May 20, 2012 @ 11:58 PM

Crawfish looked at each other across a plate. Lamb ribs cuddled up to sweet potatoes. Clams swam with corn in a delicate broth.

All the dishes were the work of students in the Culinary Arts Program at Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School, who were facing off against each other in the culinary arts competition held at the end of every trimester.

“Bragging rights and a T-shirt,” said Culinary Instructor Scott Botelho, describing what the winning team would receive.

“It’s not a final exam,” Botelho said. “It’s a way to end the trimester, letting them use their skills.”

The competition roughly follows the plot of television culinary shows such as “Iron Chef” and “Chopped,” which give contestants a mix of ingredients and tell them to start cooking.

“We have five teams, three to four students each, with the seniors in charge of every team,” Botelho said.

Botelho listed some of the ingredients given to the competitors, including, chicken, lamb ribs, bok choy, crawfish and soppressata, among other things.

Each of the five teams was required to produce a complete meal, including an appetizer, a soup and two entrees, each with a starch and a vegetable. Teams were required to submit a complete menu 30 minutes after seeing their ingredients for the first time.

The teams had 3½ hours to prepare their contribution and, by 11:30 a.m., the Diman kitchen was boiling with effort and noise.

Students took plates of sauced ribs out of the oven, chopped greens for garnished, mashed yams, gave the soup another good stir, checked on the rice to see if it was properly steamed and arranged the food enticingly on plates.

With five tables spread, each one containing an appetizer, a soup, and two entrees, judges were kept busy eating.

The students used their ingredients well, creating a mango salsa to go with fried crawfish, using Coca-Cola to create a barbecue sauce for ribs, stir frying the soppressata with oriental noodles.

Judges scored each item from 1 to 20, based on appearance, creativity and taste.

The winning team was Kennedy Silva, Liz Wood, Paula Pimental and Tiffany Fonseca. Their menu was chicken and bok choy soup, crawfish boil, barbecue mahi mahi tacos with rice and steamed vegetables entree and rack of Denver lamb ribs with mashed potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and lamb gravy.

Go to Diman news.