Pottstown students participate in second annual Chopped contest

Students Adriana Douglas and Briana Gribble look at the ingredients and begin to work.

What do these food items have in common – goat cheese, Ruffles potato chips, pork chops, and cherry preserves? They were the secret ingredients in the Pottstown High School Culinary Arts second annual Chopped contest sponsored by Grumpy’s Restaurant in Pottstown.

Gene and Sheila Dugan, owners of Grumpy’s, challenged the culinary arts students to a real-life experience with the task of creating a menu dish to be served at the restaurant. Once the students received their secret ingredients, they are given 60 minutes to create, prepare, plate, and present their creation to a three person judging panel.

The winners of the event have their sandwich featured as a special menu item at Grumpy’s Restaurant. This year’s winners Keelan Warren and Isaiah Robinson also received a recipe book, a bag of culinary utensils, and a $50 cash award.

Sheila Dugan said, “We wanted to start this competition for the students to give them a way to take the skills they are learning in class and put to real-life application. Only two years old, this event creates a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm for everybody involved. Grumpy’s is proud to partner with the Pottstown School District in providing students quality, real-life educational opportunities. As an added benefit to the Culinary Arts Department, Grumpy’s will donate $2.00 for the sale of each sandwich to the Culinary Arts Department.”

Judging this year’s event were High School Principal Dr. Jeffrey Hartmann, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jeffrey Sparagana, and Gene Dugan – aka Mr. Grumpy.

Jackie Mathias, Culinary Arts teacher, said, “This is my first year experiencing this event and I can feel the excitement and enthusiasm that the students have for the challenge. This is a great real-life, learning experience and at the same time a fun and enjoyable way to learn the art and skills of food preparation.”

“Developing partnerships with our community members that lead to rewarding educational opportunities for our students is a focus of the Career and Technical Education Department,” said Director Danielle McCoy.

Later this year, the students will have a grand unveiling of their new creation at Grumpy’s Restaurant.

In addition to the winners, students participating in the event included: Ryan Krause, Adriana Douglas, Robbie McCoy, Derek Piechota, Jaime Caballero, Gary Beekley, Terri Chestnut, BriAnna Gribble, and Ronni Yerk.