LCTI hosts culinary competition; students assist chefs

SCHNECKSVILLE, Pa. | Autumn Madea is one of six Lehigh Career & Technical Institute students hand selected by the school’s culinary staff to serve as chef assistants in the 2014 National Young Chef Rôtisseurs of the Mid-Atlantic States.

“It’s really exciting working with them because it’s a place I aspire to get to in my career,” Madea, a Catasauqua High School freshman, said of collaborating with professional chefs during the event.

LCTI was tapped to host the competition, beating out Philadelphia area culinary institutes and colleges. This year marked the first time the competition was held at a high school.

“I’m learning a lot, chef,” Emmaus High School senior Keenan McGinnis called out to Chef Mark Luepnitz as they worked.

“It’s a really good opportunity to see how this is done at the highest level,” LCTI Culinary Arts teacher John O’Connell said. “You see how clean they keep their work area and how organized they are?” he asked his students.

Each of the five professional competitors were given 30 minutes to plan a menu and three hours to prepare an appetizer, entree and dessert for the three judges. They were given a duck, a Pampano fish, a papaya, baby eggplants and several other ingredients with which to work. The chefs also were permitted to utilize items them found in LCTI’s kitchen, such as fresh basil and house-made chicken stock.

In addition to Madea and McGinnis, the following LCTI students participated in the event:

  • Maya Sheed, Junior, Catasauqua High School
  • Anthony Sorrentino, Junior, Parkland High School
  • Kile Vierling, Senior, Emmaus High School
  • Julissa Mercedes, Senior, William Allen High School

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