BURKBURNETT (KFDX/KJTL) — Five Burkburnett ISD students chose aprons over cleats and they’re proving small programs can make it big.
They placed fifth in culinary out of 18 teams in the Texas Prostart Invitational competition.
They’ve grown up together and now they’re dominating the kitchen as a well-oiled machine.
“I couldn’t ask for a better team, I could not, I love every one of them,” Culinary Academy student Tristan Forrester said.
For the five seniors, the kitchen is their field and cooking is their sport.
“Favorite part is just being able to be ourselves in here, we don’t have to act any different, we are expected to be ourselves in here,” Culinary Academy student Bryson Noe said.
It’s a place for them to be themselves with the very people they know best.
“I grew up with everybody here so to be in this class and to get to see each other every day and just cook with each other and all that, it’s a blessing, this class is truly a blessing,” Culinary Academy student Clem Robertson said.
The class is a blessing that started as curiosity.
“Well, to be honest, I got tired of fast food, just wanted to learn how to cook for myself and I think it’s an essential skill that everyone should have,” Culinary Academy student Coby Collins said.
A skill of knowing how to provide for themselves and maybe even someone else.
“I started taking this class cause I could burn a pop tart and I was like ‘I need to learn to cook, girls like that and I need all the help I can get,'” Culinary Academy student Caleb Dozier said.
For others, it’s about carrying on a family tradition and making sure the legacy lives on.
“I didn’t really know anything about cooking, I watched my dad do it, my mom, my grandmother and they were all really good cooks and I just wanted to continue that tradition and be at least half as good as they were,” Robertson said.
Now they’re firing up the stovetop for the state competition after placing fifth in regionals.
“For us to be the smallest school there with our class being a team of five was just amazing,” Noe said. “We are probably one of the least wealthy schools there.”
The catch is that they have one hour to make six plates using only a butane burner and a Coleman camp oven.
“I didn’t think I would even go to cooking competition at the beginning of the year and now I feel very confident,” Forrester said.
It’s their chef, their teacher, their friend who has helped them grow not only as culinary artists but into the young men they are today.
“Sophomore year I could barely get a peep out of them, but now they know how to shake hands and look you in the eye and they have the interpersonal skills to succeed in life,” Burkburnett ISD, Vernon College Culinary Academy chef instructor Erika Colee said.
There are not too many cooks in the kitchen, rather the perfect recipe for a state title to bring home to Burkburnett.
They’re headed to San Antonio March 26 and 27 for the state competition to face 11 of the best teams of the state and, if they get 1st place, they’ll head to the national competition.