Seeing a sliver of their talent 🎦
Posted on 02/04/2022
Student poses with fruit sculpture

Warning - do not attend a Career and Technical Education culinary competition on an empty stomach. 

Walking into the ballroom, the aromatic scent of sauteing garlic and onions, as well as pan seared chicken, tuna and steak gloriously fills the air. Menus included items like, pan seared Mediterranean chicken with oregano couscous and cucumber tomato salsa; creamy mushroom filet with sauteed potatoes and carrots served with Venezuelan sunrise soup; black garlic bruschetta with lemon shrimp scampi, watercress and red onion. Judges were impressed by the wide variety of menus and even more so at the presentation and quality. 

Planning an event of this magnitude requires a range of assistance. More than 50 judges from Disney, Universal, UCF, Ritz, caterers, Publix, Hilton ACF, KFC and Gordon Food Service provided the competitors feedback and encouragement. Students from Freedom High's Hospitality Program assisted with the planning and helped manage the event, and Dr. Phillips' student-led Stream Team provided a live feed and a recording of the event.


More than 100 student competitors brought their A-game to the annual competitions of

ProStart Prep, Gourmet Meal, Gourmet Dessert, Edible Centerpiece, Knife Skills and Waiters Relay. Here’s how they fared:


Edible Centerpiece 

First Place Mid Florida - OTC (Elizabeth Hiatt) 

Second Place Wekiva (Judah Meyers) 

Third Place Cypress Creek High School - OTC (Liliana Mercado) 


Knife Skills  

First Place -Tie

Wekiva (Aubrey Pugh) 

Wekiva (Jasmine Thomas) 

Second Place -Tie

Wekiva (America Castillo 

University-OTC   (Audrey Ridgeway) 

Third Place Freedom High School  (Alex Matthews) 


Waiters Relay 

First Place Lake Buena Vista - OTC  (Abigail Considine, Esha Haque, Sagan Giardino) 

Second Place Cypress Creek - OTC (Jeremy Ramos, Josiah Delvalle, Miguel A. Gaviria) 

Third Place Mid Florida - OTC (Giavanna Puertas, Jaliyah Bryant, Solana Johnson) 


Gourmet Dessert - High School Division

First Place Winter Park (Ada Parra, Jonathon Gonzalez)    

Second Place Colonial  (Edwin Arroyo, Nahya Figueroa)   

Third Place Freedom (Camila Santana Tirado, Kearstin Uptergrove)  


Gourmet Dessert – Orange Technical College Division 

First Place University - OTC (Bella Dao, Veronica Bosch) 

Second Place-Tie  

Horizon - OTC (Ana Herrera-Arellano, Gwendolyn Wirbel) 

Apopka - OTC (Natalie Alvarado, Sade Viala) 

Mid Florida - OTC (Leah Hale, Tracy Andrezil) 

Third Place Mid Florida - OTC (Andrea Quintero, Jaida Terrero) 


Gourmet Meal – High School Division 

First Place Wekiva (Greta Torres, Tyler Dettmann) 

Second Place-Tie  

Wekiva (Jasmyn Pagan, Joanna Damian, Trenton Serwe) 

Colonial (David Sosa, Jay Fernandez, Rebecca Fernandez) 

Third Place-Tie 

Colonial (Daisey Rendon, Elaine Bonavente, Leslie Fraire) 

Winter Park (Madison Bryant, Maria Santana, Payton Lantry) 

Wekiva (Aiden Keesey, Arson Delvalle, Xeno Borrego) 


Gourmet Meal – Orange Technical College Division 

First Place University - OTC (Diego Talavera, Ezekiel Paniza, Zachary Urmos) 

Second Place Apopka - OTC  (Brendan Zimmer, Kayla Balthazar, Kindall Leslie) 

Third Place Apopka - OTC  (Emmanuel Martinez, Jessina Lay) 


ProStart Prep 

First Place  Freedom High School (Andy Langlois, Arshia Mafi-Nezhad, Chryssa Criollo, Emily Crowston, Noah Pagan) 

Second Place Wekiva (Erick Hendrickson, Josephine Russo, Nathan Marchman, Nicholas Eberle, Travis Grider) 

Third Place Cypress Creek - OTC (Amy Tejada, Branden Lopez, Natasha Upegui) 


Best On Plate Gourmet Dessert

First Place  Winter Park (Ada Parra, Jonathon Gonzalez) 

Second Place Horizon-OTC (Ana Herrera-Arellano, Gwendolyn Wirbel) 

Third Place University-OTC (Bella Dao, Veronica Bosch) 


Best On Plate Gourmet Meal 

First Place Apopka - OTC (Emmanuel Martinez, Jessina Lay) 

Second Place  Freedom High (Haruna Ramirez, Keri Ekthuvapranee, Viviana Bellorin)         

Third Place  Apopka - OTC (Brendan Zimmer, Kayla Balthazar, Kindall Leslie)