The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

City South Festival Judges Culinary Delights

By Yesenia Camacho
South San Antonio Chamber held its annual scholarship fundraiser during the City South Festival on Oct. 23. The event was held at Mission County Park and featured a high school based Iron-Chef style competition, jazz music, an arts and crafts vendor and a variety of carnival foods, including gorditas, hamburgers, turkey legs, roasted corn, funnel cakes and fruit cups.

The Iron-Chef style competitors included culinary arts students from John Marshall, John
Jay, Wagner high schools and Phoenix Middle College SAISD. Each competition round was represented by one student from each of the four high schools.

Kane Sorrells from John Marshall High school won first place. The prize included $1, 500 cash, a $1,000 Culinary Institute of America scholarship and a $250 St. Phillips College scholarship. Second place winner, George David Medrano from Phoenix Middle College SAISD was awarded with $750 Culinary Institute of America scholarship and a $250 St. Phillips College scholarship. Third-place award winner Victoria Becerra from Marshall High School received $500 Culinary Institute of America scholarship and a $250 St. Phillips College scholarship.

Competitors were each provided with a set of different ingredients, then allowed an
hour to create the best dish possible. And the winners are in!

“I made fried fish with carrots, orange, lime and lemon,” said Brian Grajales, John Jay
culinary arts student.

Dishes were judged according to taste, presentation and creativity.

“I personally liked John Marshall’s Alia Messina’s dish. I thought her dish was creative,
tasty, and very well presented. John Jay’s Jonathan Gonzales’ steak plate was amazing,
but his rice was undercooked which unfortunately won him the least points,” said Brenna
Macpherson, one of three judges.

Macpherson added that the Iron-Chef competition was an educational experience and
training that allowed participating students the opportunity to be recognized for their hard

“If opportunities like this were around when I was a kid, I would be a better chef. These
kids have a better opportunity to further their education. In this field, it is all about
education,” said Certified Executive Chef Christina Perrington.

“What we are doing here is providing an opportunity for these children to win
scholarships. It’s all about the kids. These kids are an investment into our future,” Perrington said.

Complementing the Iron-Chef style competition were mellow jazz melodies, and in the
corner of the empty dance floor, two little girls demonstrating their mixed version of
break dancing and ballet side leap moves.

Near the dance floor stood Rose’s Leather & Apparel, the only arts and crafts vendor booth
on site. Items included retail bought leather belts, blue or red handkerchief themed tops, and hand-decorated handkerchief themed flip flops in red, florescent green, brown, blue, black and aqua. Hand-crafted charm bracelets, necklaces and star-shaped dangling earrings in the colors of blue, silver, pink, purple, and melon were also available for purchase.

Rose Hernandez, owner of Rose’s Leather & Apparel said, “This event is a good thing. All
students need help from every which way…it is good that there are people out there raising money for students.”

However, Hernandez added that her reasons for being on site to sell her arts and crafts had little to do with helping raise scholarship money for all students and all to do with investing her earnings into the college education of her son and daughter.

South San Antonio Chamber will celebrate the sixth annual City South Festival next year. All San Antonio culinary arts students are encouraged to participate.

Michelle Tymrak and Michael Jimenez contributed to this report.

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