By Beth Cox
Johnson County High School’s Culinary Arts Department was recently acknowledged as being one of the top eight culinary arts programs in the state of Tennessee.
The distinguished honor qualifies Chef Craig Cox and his culinary arts team to compete in the second annual Junior Chef competition in Nashville.
Cox was thrilled to hear that his program had been honorably recognized.
“I’m excited to compete in the culinary competition in January,” Cox said. “It’s a big accomplishment for us.” He added, “I’m truly happy that we made it, and hopefully, our team can win the whole competition.”
Cox will be taking three culinary arts students who have exemplified both talent and dedication in the chosen field.
Seniors Petie Pavusek and Andrew Taylor were selected for their culinary creativity and food preparation.
Junior Stacy Greer has enjoyed his culinary classes and would like to pursue food and restaurant management after high school. All three students can not wait to compete.
Pavusek said that he is honored to be a part of the elite three. “I give my thanks to Coach Cox for preparing me for the journey we will go on in January, along with my teammates, Stacy and Andrew.” Greer shared his excitement and gratitude to Cox, “Thanks to Coach Cox for this opportunity. I can’t wait to compete in Nashville.” Taylor followed up by reiterating the sentiments of Pavusek and Greer but added, “It will be a fun competition, especially when we win.”
The junior chef competition is a multi-faceted program that encompasses both cooking and articulation. The culinary arts team is required to use local ingredients to create a recipe that adheres to the School Nutrition Program standards and guidelines. The culinary teams must also be able to explain the importance of local purchasing, agriculture industry, and school nutrition for Tennessee. The state competition gives the culinary arts students a better level of understanding and exposure of employment opportunities and potential career paths for future endeavors in culinary arts.
The Junior Chef Program provides an opportunity for culinary arts students to have a better understanding of the importance of the farm to school program, which includes local foods and a strong agricultural presence in the community.
The January Competition is sponsored by The Tennessee Department of Education Office of School Nutrition. The students on the top three winning teams will be eligible for scholarships to Sullivan University in Louisville, Kentucky. The competition is scheduled for January 9-11, 2020.