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Amtech Career Academy senior wins state-wide competition without even knowing she entered

Published: Nov. 5, 2021 at 8:42 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - One Amtech Career Academy senior has won a state-wide culinary arts competition.

Amtech’s chef instructor told her students they were going to have a class competition, filming themselves completing different skills, however what the students didn’t know is their work would be submitted to the Culinary Arts Career Conference Competitions offered by the Texas Food and Wine Alliance.

The five skill areas to enter were: chicken fabrication, hollandaise sauce, western omelet, knife skills and piping techniques.

Rhonda says Sierrah Kaplan was the only student to pick chicken fabrication and ended up winning.

“Everyone shyed away from that table because it’s a little overwhelming, sometimes when you see this whole bird and don’t know what to do with that, but she stepped up,” said Rhonda Obenhaus, Amtech chef instructor.

What Sierra thought was just a class competition ended up getting her a $3,000 scholarship to go towards culinary school.

One of the judges says the category Sierrah entered was one of the tougher ones.

“We were very impressed, I would say this is a skill that you need as you get out to the industry, and I would say she is well on her way,” said Robyn McArthur, executive chef, Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts.

Before receiving this scholarship, Sierrah was unsure if she would continue culinary after graduation.

“Whenever I found out that I actually had a scholarship to go to culinary school and I’ve been doing cooking since I was freshmen, so it seemed like I actually had something to do after high school,” said Sierrah Kaplan, senior, Amtech Career Academy.

She started taking culinary as an elective at Tascosa High School and her former teacher says she is so proud of her for winning this scholarship.

“Culinary school is rather expensive and you know without scholarships and stuff like that, you know, a lot of our kids don’t get that opportunity,” said Kandice Norrid, culinary instructor, Tascosa High School.

Her teachers and judges from the competition believe Sierrah has a great future ahead of her.

“It shows that she’s got the skill level that is necessary to move on to the college level, and to be a great chef,” said Obenhaus.

Amtech is proud of this accomplishment as it is their first culinary competition and the first trophy that will be going up in their school.

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