Young chefs fare well nationally

After cooking a beef tenderloin and mashed potato dish to near perfection, three Meadowcreek High School students came home from a national competition with their heads held high.

Tyler Rivera, Vincent Tompkins and Nickholas Patma won second place July 9 for the southern regional division of the nationals in Anaheim, Calif.

Sponsored by the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, the event pitted state champions in three divisions.

Debbie Grant, a culinary instructor at Meadowcreek High School, said she was "thrilled" for her students.

"It took lots of practice, and we brought in a number of different chefs to give them advice," she said.

Grant added that the young chefs were "very excited."

In total, the three young men won about $18,000 in scholarship money for their achievement.

Grant said Tompkins and Patma will be heading off to college in the fall, but Rivera is a rising senior at the local high school.

"He's already won quite a bit of scholarship money, and he's just now entering his senior year," she said.

To take home top honors at the July 9 event, the three young men cooked beef tenderloin and chipotle mashed potatoes served with cappuccino mousse on the side.

They had 30 minutes to set up, one hour to cook and 15 minutes to clean their work space.

According to its website, FCCLA is a nonprofit national career and technical student organization, which "aims to develop skills for life through character development, creative and critical thinking, interpersonal communication, practical knowledge and career preparation."