Young chefs compete in ‘cupcake war’

Aspiring young chefs competed in a “cupcake war” on Saturday in culmination of 13 weekly cooking classes.

The 11 competitors presented their dishes to an audience of dozens at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.

Cupcake War II, organized by the Youth Services Unit, is “here to stay,” according to James Myles, youth services coordinator.

“The Cupcake War is a culminating event of some of what they learned in the program. There’s a wide range of classes, from cooking fish to almost everything that happens in the kitchen,” said Mr. Myles.

The program gave high school students hands-on experience in the field by working closely with kitchen staff at the Ritz-Carlton. Students learned how to prepare myriad dishes, including popular sushi and chicken recipes.

During the competition, the 11 competitors split into teams and were given an hour to prepare their chosen desserts before their food was judged on the basis of presentation and taste by a panel of three judges.

Chelsea Duty‘s team, which included students Brittney Bodden, Ashley Thompson and Sydni Ebanks, won the competition. The group presented a multicolored cake traced with white icing and baked an assortment of cupcakes to go with it.

Benjamin Kallenbach, executive pastry chef who was also a judge, said he enjoyed working with the students.

“It was nice working with them. Culinary gets noticed more now that they have all the TV shows on the food networks …” said Kallenbach.

“It’s good to bring the students into the hotel and show them actually what we do on a daily basis. It gives them a real feel and shows them a real working hotel kitchen and it seems like the enjoy it and they seem interested,” he added.

Along with Mr. Kallenbach, the other invited judges were Leslie Anderson, a former student of the culinary program, and Child Month Committee member Wendy Quinland.

Other high school students who participated in the competition were: Tya Bovell, D’Angelo Roper, Britiny McLaughlin, Rene Jackson, Alexandra Nairne, Jykalli Swaby, and Amy McLean.