McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

McHenry High School's student-written and -edited newspaper

The McHenry Messenger

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Chopping up the competition

McHenry culinary students competed in a “Chopped”-like competition on April 23 at the MCC Culinary Challenge 
Melanie Kadlic
Two MCHS culinary students competed in a Chop Challenge, both winning for our school for the second year in a row

The clock ticks as time is almost up. A McHenry student and her partner finish plating their meals right as time is called. As she takes a step back, she breathes a sigh of relief as she looks at her plates with pride, happy with how they turned out and grateful for the opportunity to represent her school.  

On April 23, McHenry County schools got together to compete in the MCC Culinary Challenge. 

The MCC Culinary Challenge is a “Chopped”-like competition where the schools go against each other to see who has the best culinary program. 

“Each district sends a team of two students to compete in a ‘Chopped’ competition,” said MCHS culinary teacher Melanie Kadlec. 

During the competition, students had to use a protein to create a main dish and two side dishes that were served to judges. 

“Basically we had a mystery meat and then we had to formulate two sides with it as well, and create a meal and then serve it to judges and then we got criticized on what our dish was and what we could have done better,” said culinary student Trinity Dunford. 

To prepare her students for the challenge, Kadlec had done competitions in class. 

“I prepared my students by having them participate in similar ‘Chopped’ competitions throughout the year,” said Kadlec. “I also had my students from last year (who also won it) provide this year’s students with some tips and guidance.”

One of the main challenges faced during the competition was the stress about the amount of time given to create a meal. 

“I think the biggest challenge was the time constraint,” said Kadlec. “They had to really think on their toes to get everything prepped, cooked, and plated in 90 minutes.”

MCHS students Dunford and Edward Riley overcame this challenge and took home a win for McHenry for the second year in a row. 

“It means a lot because I walked into that challenge like kind of just like Oh, I’m here like I just want to experience I didn’t think I was gonna win it,” said Dunford. “But yes, it was really fun because Miss Kadlec was very proud of us and I was proud of her for making us good students.” 

Kadlec is proud of her students for how they competed and how they represented the MCHS culinary program. 

“It really means a lot that McHenry High School has won this competition for two years in a row,” said Kadlec. “It makes me feel good that we have a great culinary program, and it reinforces that our Warrior Chef capstone course is really providing the students with the skills they need to succeed in the kitchen.”

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