Competition, cupcakes: teacher enhances culinary arts program

Alexis Polizzi, Staff Writer

Teacher Jennifer Hogan brings competition to the Culinary Arts program with her competitive activities that have enhanced the Culinary curriculum in the form of war. That’s right, a cupcake war.

Hogan, second year culinary arts teacher, is excited to bring new material to the classroom.

“The students really like decorating cakes. It’s one thing to reiterate the lesson, and it’s really fun because it is Halloween themed,” said Hogan.

The wars took place on Oct. 20 and 21, and Hogan said the competition raised the level of student engagement.

“I was very excited about the baking competitions because I love to bake, and the T.V. show “Cupcake Wars” is my favorite show,” said Chloe Vaitkus, senior and first period culinary student.

These competitions are intended to show the true talents of the students, according to Hogan.

“The competition is judged by the creativity, the overall presentation, and the neatness of it all. Those key components show how well the students work in a competition setting,” Hogan said. The previous competition included making and designing fruit platters, fairly different from cupcake wars.

“I think the contrast in competitions shows the students individuality, and what they can create from any sort of material,” said Brittany Cieplinski, culinary teacher and competition judge.

When the competition was observed, the tension was high as well as the creativity.

“I [could see myself] getting very nervous, but I knew I could handle it. I’m confident in my baking skills, but my skills could always improve,” said Andy Tapia, junior and 7th period culinary student.

“When under pressure I like to try and remain calm. When I get all freaked out it affects my overall performance,” said Vaitkus. The pressure is also said to prepare them for the future careers they might partake in.

Hogan says that the pressure will build up and that it is good for the students because it prepares them for life. She also plans for more competitions in the future and hopes to see how her students grow from each one.