Weeks of preparation in the kitchen paid off for two Payson High School students who participated in the American Culinary Federation competition last weekend.
Brett Goodwin and Justin Richardson took on a huge challenge when they decided to compete against some of the best cooks in the state and the risk paid off, said PHS culinary teacher Devon Wells.
Richardson earned a silver medal for his perfectly cooked pork and sauce. Richardson’s award was the highest given to the eight high school participants, earning him the title of “Arizona ACF/US Foods Junior Culinarian of the Year.”
Goodwin received a certificate of participation for his efforts. Judges said they liked Goodwin’s keep it simple stupid (KISS) plate saying it highlighted his superior sauce and plate presentation skills, Wells said.
Goodwin and Richardson each prepared a pork loin dish with a starch, vegetable, sauce, and garnish in the K-2 category.
Judges from across the country including Las Vegas and Alabama were flown in for the Arizona ACF-sanctioned competition.
This is the first time in Arizona that high school students were allowed to compete in the professionally sanctioned event.
Goodwin and Richardson also met three students from the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Phoenix who recently competed on the “Iron Chef America” TV series.
Katelyn Remick, 21, Julie Fiedler, 20, and Tyler Burke, 24, also competed in the ACF competition and were a delight to watch, Wells said.
“Their speed and creativity were very inspiring for the audience, with Goodwin and Richardson soaking up lots of ideas and setting goals for their futures in the culinary industry as well,” she said.