Chalmette High School’s Career and Technical Education Program hosted its first ever Taste of St. Bernard recently at the Maumus Center in Old Arabi.
For the past two years, CHS has hosted a culinary competition during lunchtime at the school, but this year the format was expanded to include preliminary rounds during school. The highest scoring two chefs – Karin Knight and Elier Mendez – qualified for Taste of St. Bernard.
In addition to planning and preparing a three-course meal, these chefs also had to plate the dishes, serving over 115 community members – the judges for the event.
The two young chefs deserve much credit for creating diverse and delicious offerings, and the well-fed guests had a difficult time in choosing a winner.
But when the judges’ scores were tallied, Knight was declared the winner. Both finalists received embroidered chef jackets, while Knight also received a full year membership to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum and a $200 gift card to purchase a custom knife to start her own cutlery collection.
Jessica Vallelungo, the coordinator of the CTE Program, said the event was a great way to showcase all of the good things happening at Chalmette High.
“Most people know that our academic program is top notch,” she said. “ But, we are also leaders in the state for CTE. This event was a chance to show the public that our career readiness programs are also excellent.”
While the night showcased the culinary students, it also highlighted participants in other CTE programs including hospitality, tourism, and graphic design. Vallelungo said creating awareness within the community was one of the goals of the experience.
“We wanted to expand opportunities for students to showcase their talent and create more opportunities for our community to experience CTE and all that we have to offer.”
In addition to the programs highlighted during the event, CTE also provides students with the opportunities to earn both a high school diploma and associate degree upon graduation, study robotics and computational thinking in information technology, pursue careers as medical assistants through expanded health science offerings, and earn high wage, high demand Industry Based Certifications.
Former Board President and current Vice-President Dianna Dysart said the event was fun and a great way to feature the talents of our students.
“We have great students at Chalmette, and we are represented wonderfully artistically, athletically, and academically. We are truly an A School,” she said. “Tonight was a great way to showcase the amazing work and achievements of our students who rarely get to be in the spotlight.”
Superintendent Doris Voitier said the night was a success and a tradition the school district is looking forward to continuing in the years to come.
“Our CTE program is a vital component of our partnership with the business community and is key to our success as a school system. Tonight was a great night to celebrate that partnership and prove, once again, when we work together our students thrive.”
For more information regarding the CTE Program at Chalmette High School, please visit the school’s website.