WNC Culinary Competitors Go For Gold

Jul 9, 2017

A local community college is going for gold.  The  five member culinary team from A-B Tech in Asheville won its tenth regional title and is now competing for the national honor. 

BPR’s Helen Chickering joined the team in the kitchen for their final practice run before the American Culinary Federation National Competition.

(chopping, sizzling, whisking)

A symphony of culinary sounds echo through the laboratory kitchen on the A-B Tech Campus in Asheville.

Five recently graduated student chefs are working around a big table, moving with precision,   stepping in and out to tend a stove, or grab an ingredient

“It’s often referred to as the dance in the kitchen, where everybody is moving in sync," say  chef instructor and coach Bronwyn McCormick, who is on the sidelines, watching closely.  Because this dance, is the final practice before the team competes in what has been dubbed the culinary Final Four, the American Culinary Federation National Competition in Orlando.

“We’ve been to the national championship ten times, more than any other school,” says chef instructor and coach Chris Bugher

It’s been ten years since the A-B Tech took home the gold, so the pressure is on.

They have to cook a four course meal four portions each, so they are starting with a fish appetizer, a salad entrée and dessert.”

“30 minutes!”

And just about an hour to get it on the table.

“Unlike what you see on TV, when the time goes off, you don’t have to walk away.  You get points deducted.”

“I love it, your adrenaline is going,” says Emma Wieber, who is working sauté and the entrée, a squab and mushroom dish, “You get so wrapped into it.  It’s crazy and I’ve never done anything like this and I love It.!

Next on the line is Habiba Smallen who is working on a fish appetizer.

HC:  I hear you guys shouting time every so often, why?

“Jess, the captain calls out the time and we all have to respond to show that we’re all on the same track we know what is going on.”

Keeping time is just one of team captain Jessica Olin many jobs.

“What’s going on in your mind when you are in the zone?”

“Watching everybody making sure they are on track. Looking at the stove, making sure nothing is burning,” says Olin, “I’m like their second pair of eyes. “  

“I like that shape Emily, I like that too, can we work on thinner?  Water in it? “

Emily Welch is working on desert, a cheese cake with too many delicious ingredients to list.

What’s the most challenging part of your dish?

“Time,” says Welch, getting everything timed perfectly, because for the glaze it has to be a certain temperature, the cheesecake has to be a certain temperature.

Rounding out the team is Nina Patterson, who is working on a fried green tomato salad and does all the dicing and chopping (knife work) for the team.

HC:  What’s it like to handle knives when you are competing?

“I get a bit worried that I’m going to cut myself, “ says Patterson, “but I know if I stay calm that it is less like to happen so I try to keep myself calm and focused. “

As the kitchen clock counted down, the team prepared to plate, right on time.  They’ll do it again for real on Tuesday.  For BPR news, I’m Helen Chickering

A local community college is going for gold.  A five member culinary team from A-B Tech in Asheville won its tenth regional title and is now competing for the national honor.  BPR’s Helen Chickering joins the A-B Tech Culinary team in the kitchen for their final practice run before they compete in the American Culinary Federation National Competition.

A symphony of culinary sounds echo through the laboratory kitchen on the A-B Tech Campus in Asheville.

Five recently graduated student chefs are working around a big table, moving with precision,   stepping in and out to tend a stove, or grab an ingredient

“It’s often referred to as the dance in the kitchen, where everybody is moving in sync.”

That’s chef instructor and coach Bronwyn McCormick, who is on the sidelines, watching closely.  Because this dance, is the final practice before the team competes in what has been dubbed the culinary final four, the American Culinary Federation National Competition.

“We’ve been to the national championship ten times, more than any other school,” says chef instructor and coach Chris Bugher

It’s been ten years since the A-B Tech took home the gold, so the pressure is on.

They have to cook a four course meal four portions each, so they are starting with a fish appetizer, a salad entrée and dessert.”

“30 minutes!”

And just about an hour to get it on the table.

“Unlike what you see on TV, when the time goes off, you don’t have to walk away.  You get points deducted.”

“I love it, your adrenaline is going,” says Emma Wieber, who is working sauté and the entrée, a squab and mushroom dish, “You get so wrapped into it.  It’s crazy and I’ve never done anything like this and I love It.!

Next on the line is Habiba Smallen who is working on a fish appetizer.

HC:  I hear you guys shouting time every so often, why?

“Jess, the captain calls out the time and we all have to respond to show that we’re all on the same track we know what is going on.”

Keeping time is just one of team captain Jessica Olin many jobs.

“What’s going on in your mind when you are in the zone?”

“Watching everybody making sure they are on track. Looking at the stove, making sure nothing is burning,” says Olin, “I’m like their second pair of eyes. “  

“I like that shape Emily, I like that too, can we work on thinner?  Water in it? “

Emily Welch is working on desert, a cheese cake with too many delicious ingredients to list.

What’s the most challenging part of your dish?

“Time,” says Welch, getting everything timed perfectly, because for the glaze it has to be a certain temperature, the cheesecake has to be a certain temperature.

Rounding out the team is Nina Patterson, who is working on a fried green tomato salad and does all the dicing and chopping (knife work) for the team.

HC:  What’s it like to handle knives when you are competing?

“I get a bit worried that I’m going to cut myself, “ says Patterson, “but I know if I stay calm that it is less like to happen so I try to keep myself calm and focused. “

As the kitchen clock counted down, the team prepared to plate, right on time.  They’ll do it again for real on Tuesday.  For BPR news, I’m Helen Chickering

A local community college is going for gold.  A five member culinary team from A-B Tech in Asheville won its tenth regional title and is now competing for the national honor.  BPR’s Helen Chickering joins the A-B Tech Culinary team in the kitchen for their final practice run before they compete in the American Culinary Federation National Competition.

A symphony of culinary sounds echo through the laboratory kitchen on the A-B Tech Campus in Asheville.

Five recently graduated student chefs are working around a big table, moving with precision,   stepping in and out to tend a stove, or grab an ingredient

“It’s often referred to as the dance in the kitchen, where everybody is moving in sync.”

That’s chef instructor and coach Bronwyn McCormick, who is on the sidelines, watching closely.  Because this dance, is the final practice before the team competes in what has been dubbed the culinary final four, the American Culinary Federation National Competition.

“We’ve been to the national championship ten times, more than any other school,” says chef instructor and coach Chris Bugher

It’s been ten years since the A-B Tech took home the gold, so the pressure is on.

They have to cook a four course meal four portions each, so they are starting with a fish appetizer, a salad entrée and dessert.”

“30 minutes!”

And just about an hour to get it on the table.

“Unlike what you see on TV, when the time goes off, you don’t have to walk away.  You get points deducted.”

“I love it, your adrenaline is going,” says Emma Wieber, who is working sauté and the entrée, a squab and mushroom dish, “You get so wrapped into it.  It’s crazy and I’ve never done anything like this and I love It.!

Next on the line is Habiba Smallen who is working on a fish appetizer.

HC:  I hear you guys shouting time every so often, why?

“Jess, the captain calls out the time and we all have to respond to show that we’re all on the same track we know what is going on.”

Keeping time is just one of team captain Jessica Olin many jobs.

“What’s going on in your mind when you are in the zone?”

“Watching everybody making sure they are on track. Looking at the stove, making sure nothing is burning,” says Olin, “I’m like their second pair of eyes. “  

“I like that shape Emily, I like that too, can we work on thinner?  Water in it? “

Emily Welch is working on desert, a cheese cake with too many delicious ingredients to list.

What’s the most challenging part of your dish?

“Time,” says Welch, getting everything timed perfectly, because for the glaze it has to be a certain temperature, the cheesecake has to be a certain temperature.

Rounding out the team is Nina Patterson, who is working on a fried green tomato salad and does all the dicing and chopping (knife work) for the team.

HC:  What’s it like to handle knives when you are competing?

“I get a bit worried that I’m going to cut myself, “ says Patterson, “but I know if I stay calm that it is less like to happen so I try to keep myself calm and focused. “

As the kitchen clock counted down, the team prepared to plate, right on time.  They’ll do it again for real on Tuesday.  For BPR news, I’m Helen Chickering