SDA students win culinary competition


San Dieguito Academy advanced Sous Chef students once again earned first place at the High School Master Chefs Culinary Competition, defending their title from last year’s win.

The competition took place in late April at the Arts Institute in Mission Valley, according to the event’s website. Teams of four from all over the county rolled up their sleeves to participate in a master chef competition in a space that boasts six separate kitchens and the Palette Room, a student-run dining room.

SDA’s team, led by Scott Huntley, had been practicing for weeks. Each element was carefully planned and SDA was ready to face off against seven other local high school teams, all vying for culinary glory: Vista, San Pasqual (HS & Academy), Orange Glen, Ramona, Mission Hills, Escondido. Each was challenged to create a dish featuring a protein, vegetable, starch, sauce, and an edible garnish. Just one hour, one dish and one exquisite plating.

Three judges including the celebrity judge, Lauren Lawless, from Master Chef Season 8, were on the panel to rank the student-prepared plates on categories and then finished their critique with a student question and answer portion. Students needed to defend the logic and organizing principles of their dishes as well as execute a perfect dish. The heat was on and the San Dieguito Academy was a super charged winner of first place with their duck breast Bulgogi, panko-crusted rice cake, poached duck egg, charred bok choy and yuzu/orange reduction.