It has been a crazy week for the young people attending this year’s Sizzling Summer Cookout culinary camp, but the heat has finally come to an end.
The campers were assigned to three teams. Team One was made up of Hollie Fenton, Amber Myrie and Shamar Hydes, Team Two was Chelsea Pierson and Imami Abdul-Jabbar and Team Three was made up of Leslie Anderson, Tayvis Walters and Ahmed Myles.
The winning team of the competition ended up being Team Two, made up of just two participants rather than three as one of the team members dropped out. Chelsea Pierson and Imani Abdul-Jabbar, of the winning team, will be given the chance to participate in the coming Cayman Cookout as sous chefs.
The week at culinary camp was an eventful one. Each day the campers were given surprise ingredients that needed to be incorporated to the day’s dishes that included ingredients like Oreo cookies, asparagus, salmon and sheets of pasta.
Asked what her favourite part of the camp has been, Chelsea Pierson replied, “Combining the surprise items into each dish”. Camper Shemar Hydes was also very fond of the surprise ingredients. However, not everyone had an easy time with them. Hollie Fenton thought, “The hardest part about the culinary camp has been the secret ingredient we had to use.”
The camp took on a format that is similar to The Food Network’s show “Chopped”. After being given the mystery ingredient, the campers were set to task incorporating the ingredients in their dishes for that day. The campers then presented their dishes to a panel of celebrity judges that included Natalie Urquhart of The National Gallery and Woody Foster of Foster’s Food Fair,
The dishes were judged on presentation, texture and taste, with a possible ten points for each, resulting in a possible overall total of 30 points each day. While no team was able to get 30 points for any of their dishes, some came close. Team Three, consisting of Tayvis Walters, Leslie Anderson and Ahmed Myles, won three days in a row, a first for the summer camp.
While there could only be one overall winning team, each of the campers was able to get some great lessons from some top of the line chefs and everyone was able to make the most out of learning from their time in the kitchen.
“My favourite part of the culinary camp has been gaining great experience with the different chefs and them teaching us new things,” said Amber Myrie.
“The culinary camp has helped me by widening my horizons and outlooks on different dishes,” said Chelsea Pierson.
All of the attendees of the camp have been involved with it for a number of years and have been interested in cooking for even longer, gaining their interest from family members and The Food Network.
“My grandmother got me interested in cooking,” said Ahmed Myles, “She used to ask me to add different ingredients to the dishes that she prepared.”
Fourteen year old Tayvis Walters’ inspiration to cook came from watching Chef Gordon Ramsay’s hit show Hell’s Kitchen, while sixteen year old Hollie Fenton’s inspiration came from watching her mother cook in the family kitchen and reading cookbooks.
As far as hopes for the future, all of the campers have their hopes set high. “I would like to attend Le Cordon Bleu in France or England,” said Imiami Abdul-Jabbar.
Chelsea Pierson hopes to attend the Tourism Apprenticeship Training Program at UCCI and eventually hopes to own her own bakery or restaurant.
With the huge success of the camp since it was started four years ago by the Youth Services Department, the organisers hope to focus on making it bigger and better and to challenge the young aspiring chefs even more in coming years.