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CCCCD Culinary Arts Students Prepare Dishes For "Taste Of Collin County"

CCCCD Culinary Arts Students Prepare Dishes For "Taste Of Collin County"

MAY 15, 2002 - Students in Collin County Community College District's (CCCCD) "Intermediate Food Preparation" culinary arts class recently participated in a Taste of Collin County, an annual charity event in McKinney that benefits North Collin County Habitat for Humanity.

The CCCCD students gained real-world experience by managing a food booth where they prepared from scratch and served chicken tamales with "dueling" mole and tomatillo sauces. Students were involved in pre-preparation of the food items, food preparation, presentation, bussing, area cleanup and promotion. In addition, students apprenticed with top chefs from the Dallas area in the "Mystery Basket" competition, in which teams were presented with a mystery basket of food and were required to prepare a two-course menu in one hour that included an entrée and either a salad, soup or appetizer. The mystery basket included items such as red snapper, Kobe beef, quail, scallops, mussels, shrimp, chayote squash and Portabella mushrooms.

"This event is a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase their culinary skills to the community and also learn from veteran chefs who have been in the industry more than 20 years," said Michael Scott, CCCCD associate faculty and executive chef at Lakewood Country Club. "The Mystery Basket competition allowed students to learn to use different food products under pressure, learn to take direction from a chef and learn the art of creating dishes from items in the basket." Scott, who is the director of the Dallas Chapter Texas Chefs Association, said that the college has participated in Taste of Collin County for the past three years.

"The Taste of Collin County allows people to see the kinds of things that CCCCD students are able to do," said Gene Athanasian, a second-year CCCCD culinary arts student. "People who sampled our food at the booth seemed impressed that students created the dish." In addition, Athanasian said he learned a lot during the Mystery Basket competition, where he and Ralph Edmonds, executive chef at Columbian Country Club of Dallas, earned third place.

More than 20 Collin County restaurants participated in the event, and CCCCD students competed alongside restaurateurs in the tasting competition for first, second, third place and Best of Show titles. Local celebrities -- including Cary Israel, CCCCD president -- judged the entries based on taste, texture and presentation. In addition, winners of the Mystery Basket competition were awarded gold ($750), silver ($500) and bronze ($250) honors.

This year's Taste of Collin County event drew about 750 taste-testers from the community and raised nearly $50,000 dollars.

For more information about CCCCD's culinary arts program, call Karen Musa, CCCCD hotel/restaurant management and culinary arts coordinator, at 972.377.1672.