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Published on February 14th, 2019 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


School District Five holds its seventh annual ‘Chopped’ competition

IRMO– Teams representing three middle schools and two intermediate school from Lexington-Richland School District Five all waited anxiously to hear who was crowned champion of the 2019 District Five ‘Chopped’ competition held on February 5, 2019 at the Center for Advanced Technical Studies (The Center).

In a dramatic moment, School District Superintendent Dr. Christina Melton unveiled the winning dish of chicken penne pasta with tomatoes and collard greens, fresh spring salad with blueberry vinaigrette and caramelized pears with a blueberry sauce crumble created by Chapin Middle School.  The team consisted of Carlynn Rychener, Tyler Strenk, Olivia Wright.  Assisting the team in the kitchen was culinary student mentor Brooke Miller from The Center. The winning team was also advised by the school’s café assistant manager Tina Gray.

“I am so very proud of our students who competed and won the Chopped competition,” said Chapin Middle School principal Anna Miller.  “They were so excited and worked so hard preparing for this and they did awesome!”

The winning school battled it out for 45 minutes in the kitchen with Chapin Intermediate, CrossRoads Intermediate, Dutch Fork Middle and Irmo Middle.  Teams were given three mystery ingredients to utilize in their dish.  Blueberries from Black Pearl Farms in Branchville, SC, Collard Greens from WP Rawls in Pelion, SC, and Rotisserie Chicken raised at the House of Raeford in Leesville, SC all had to be incorporated on the plate.  Teams also had access to a pantry with other ingredients.

Upon completing their meals, teams presented them to a panel of guest judges who scored them on food safety and sanitation, creativity, team work, taste and presentation.  The judges included Dr. Melton; Beth Hutchison, Vice Chairman of the District Five School Board; Christine Jackson, Marketing and Communications Manager with WP Rawl & Son’s Farm; and Sara, culinary student from The Center.

School District Five director of student nutrition Todd Bedenbaugh brought the competition to the school district seven years ago.

“When we started this event a few years ago, we never could have imagined how far it has come,” Bedenbaugh said. “It is amazing to see how advanced our young students are and how knowledgeable they already are about working with food in the kitchen. I am so thankful to all of our supporters in School District Five, especially Dr. Al Gates at The Center who allows us to use their facilities. And this all would not even be possible without our café managers, our student culinary mentors and of course all the wonderful parents in our community!”

“I am so proud of all the students who competed and was blown away by their creativity,” Melton said.  “It’s not about the end product, it’s about the process and the celebration that they completed the competition as a team.”

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