Teen Iron chefs give it their all!


Paloma Ocampo, Staff Writer

On Thursday January 16, culinary students from Hoover High School competed in this year’s Teen Iron Chef.

Seniors Diego Jalate and Briza Ugarte, along with juniors Laura Torres-Ramirez and Paloma Ocampo spent the last three months training hard with Hoover teacher, Chef Tina Luu.  This included practicing very hard after school and taking what they learned to showcase their dishes beautifully.

“I am so proud of these Cardinals,” expressed Chef Luu.  “They are amazing individuals and through the process of training and practice, they synergized and came together as a strong team.”

The schools that competing were San Diego High School,  Morse High School, Madison High School, Garfield High School, Mira Mesa High School and of course Hoover High School. The location of the competition was set  at Mira Mesa College Culinary building. The students worked at a station with two cooking tables, with a third shared with other teams, and a rack put their items on. So overall it was a small work area. The team had an hour to prepare which can be stressful and the young chefs might forget to do something while cooking. They had to be cautious to keep their station clean and worry about breaking any type of sanitary rules.

One of the conflicts they faced in this challenge was time.  However, according to Chef Luu, this culinary team executed their dishes at an amazing level.  And though they didn’t win, according to one of the judges, Hoover was two points behind First Place winners, San Diego High School.

“Everything was moving fast and I doubted everything even if I was right,” said Laura Torres-Ramirez. “But it was fun around the stressful moments.”

It is the hope that more opportunities like Teen Iron Chef are available to the Hoover Cardinals.  There is so much growth and learning in team competition.  And bringing a #1 win and a gold medal to Hoover would be great.  Chef Luu also commented that the family support at the event was really good to see.