Garfield High wins Teen Iron Chef competition

Posted: Friday, January 20th 2017


Teacher Justin Halbert and three students holding silver fork award

For the second consecutive year, Garfield High School won the coveted Silver Fork at the 18th annual Teen Iron Chef competition.

The teen chefs, Jazmyne Lyons, Juan Rios and Jose Valdivia, presented a menu featuring seafood pozole, pan-roasted crispy skin chicken thighs and chocolate spiced pot de crème. And of course, at least one of these items featured the secret ingredient: Trefoil Girl Scout cookies.

These shortbread-type cookies were selected since the California Restaurant Association is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Girls Scouts during Restaurant Week.

Garfield High’s creativity and execution was just enough to beat out the culinary students from Hoover, Madison, Mira Mesa, San Diego and Morse high schools. Justin Halbert, the ROP Culinary Arts and Management teacher at Garfield, helped guide the students to victory.

The competition is supported by the San Diego County Chapter of the California Restaurant Association and based on the Iron Chef America Series on the Food Network. 

Students are able to work on their ideas, go shopping, portion their protein and measure any dry or liquid ingredients the day before the event.  They are not allowed to do any actual cooking, pre-making dough, or premixing ingredients ahead of time. On the day of the competition, they are presented with the secret ingredient that must be incorporated into at least one of their three courses. They are allowed to have their recipes or prep-list at the station during the competition.

Celebrity judges included:

  • Harris Golden, President of the San Diego Pretzel Company
  • Chef Bernard Guillas, The Marine Room | La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club | Executive Chef;
  • Chef Ken Irvine, Bleu Boheme & Sea 180 | Owner and Partner;
  • Chef Deborah Scott, Cohn Restaurant Group | Partner; 
  • Chef Larry Lewis, San Diego Culinary Institute Program Director | Senior Executive Chef;
  • Chef Jim Phillips, SYSCO Business Development | Culinary Specialist;
  • Nicole Treadaway, The Art Institute of California - San Diego | Dining Room Operations Manager.

Past secret ingredients include raw ginger root, calamari, brie, balsamic vinegar, prosciutto, cantaloupe and tofu. 

Previous year winners dating back to 2011 include Garfield High (2016, 2017), Scripps Ranch (2014, 2013), Madison (2012) and Mira Mesa (2011) high schools. 

Share this: