judging chopped Vidalia GA Sweet Savant
Judging “Chopped’ style competition in Vidalia GA. From left to right: Rachel Bell, Manager of Marketing-Georgia Restaurant Association, Chef Lee Gray, Executive Director-Hospitality Education Foundation and me, Demetra Overton-Sweet Savant, your Personal Chef

DAY TWO of our visit to VIdalia, GA during the Onion Festival and there was SO much going on here. Carnivals, concerts, a craft fair,even the Blue Angels were in town. We didn’t have to be at the Golden Onion competition until noon so we slept a little late and had breakfast downstairs at our hotel.

There were actually two competitions going on that day, the Golden Onion competition with professional chefs from all over Georgia and a “Chopped” style competition where three Students from South Forsyth High School had to create three dishes each from a mystery basket of ingredients.

students before chopped Vidalia Onion  Sweet Savant
Students before “Chopped” Vidalia. From left to right: Joseph Penley, Jisun Ham and Olivia Fisse

I have a TON of pictures from the day so I’m going to break it up into two  posts. First up, the student competition. The big surprise for me was that when we got there I was asked to be a judge for the competition, that was such a huge honor. The kids were so focused and determined to put forth professional dishes that I have no doubt they will all be successful chefs.

Joseph cooking Chopped Vidalia Sweet Savant
Joseph cooking his appetizer during “Chopped” Vidalia. Notice the improvised plate warmer that he made using his heated griddle.

I must say, while all the students were extremely talented, I was most impressed with the youngest to the group, Joseph. Joseph showed such amazing thoughtfulness by fashioning a plate warmer out of a heated griddle. That blew me away because it showed his problem solving thought process. Not only did he have his guests in mind, wanting to make sure that our food maintained the proper temperature when it reached us, he also had to figure out from very limited resources how to make that happen.  Another example of his mature thought process was demonstrated in the appetizer round when he removed the tails from the shrimp making them much easier to eat. Pulling a shrimp tail from your lips is not an easy feat if you’re at a party, balancing a plate and holding a wine glass. Even if your sitting at dinner having a nice chat with a date or whomever, do you really want to be removing shells from your mouth..I do NOT. That may seem like a small thing but its huge in my book, it shows that he is thinking of his guests total dining experience. Impressive.

The appetizer round from left to right: Joseph's shrimp skewers over sauteed local Georgia  Rainbow Chard, Jissen's GA Shrimp Bruschetta and Olivia's Ga Shrimp over Couscous
The appetizer round from left to right: Joseph’s GA  shrimp skewers over sauteed local Georgia Rainbow Chard, Jisun’s GA Shrimp Bruschetta and Olivia’s Ga Shrimp over Couscous
Students presenting their "chopped" desserts
Students presenting their “Chopped” desserts. Joseph presented Pound Cake French Toast, Jisun gave us a FANTASTIC chocolate souffle and Olivia made a delicious fritter with  Georgia Pecans

Vidalia onions were included in EVERY dish including dessert.

And our "Chopped" winner , OLIVIA!  Congratulations to all the students .  Scholarships  were granted to all!
And our “Chopped” winner , OLIVIA! Congratulations to all the students . Scholarships for everyone!




29 Comments on Students Compete “Chopped” Style in Vidalia, GA

  1. Shell
    May 11, 2015 at 8:14 pm (9 years ago)

    I’d love to go to a competition like that. I’m such a foodie.

  2. Anjanette @MommaYoung
    May 7, 2015 at 12:08 pm (9 years ago)

    That looks like fun and what an amazing opportunity to win a scholarship. Those are some talented high schoolers.

  3. Amy Desrosiers
    May 6, 2015 at 3:57 pm (9 years ago)

    I love Chopped style competitions! I was in one at General Mills and it was so much fun!

  4. Kristi
    May 6, 2015 at 3:21 am (9 years ago)

    What a fun experience for the students and thank you for writing about it to give it some recognition. There food looks amazing as well.

  5. Annie
    May 6, 2015 at 2:41 am (9 years ago)

    What a fantastic event!! I never would have known what to do with vidalia onions in a dessert LOL

  6. Karen
    May 6, 2015 at 2:39 am (9 years ago)

    I’m impressed with the student’s ability to create a dish using items presented to them. I would love to have the recipes, especially the ones using chard.

  7. Travel Blogger
    May 6, 2015 at 1:52 am (9 years ago)

    That’s so fun! I’ve always watched the chopped show and thought “I could do that” ..I probably couldnt but I would like to try .lol.

  8. Estelle
    May 5, 2015 at 10:16 pm (9 years ago)

    This looks like such a cool thing to do. I get hungry just looking at all of these fabulous dishes!

  9. Rosey
    May 5, 2015 at 9:48 pm (9 years ago)

    Vidalia onions were always my mom and grandma’s favorite. How cool that all the recipes used them. And double hurrah for a great event!

  10. Camesha | Mama Motivator
    May 5, 2015 at 8:13 pm (9 years ago)

    What a cool experience! Getting scholarships was just the icing on the cake!

  11. Crystal
    May 5, 2015 at 6:41 pm (9 years ago)

    I wish I had taken up cooking younger. These young adults have so much talent. I’m sure we will be seeing them again.

  12. Debbie L
    May 5, 2015 at 4:34 pm (9 years ago)

    This is really a great event – I think it is so good that young adults get a chance to go for their dreams.

  13. kristin
    May 5, 2015 at 3:24 pm (9 years ago)

    How fun my girls love spending time in the kitchen. So valuable for young adults too.

  14. Beth@FrugalFroggie
    May 5, 2015 at 2:53 pm (9 years ago)

    I don’t know enough about onions to know the difference between them. But I do know that my mom always made a big deal about getting Vidalia onions.

  15. Debra
    May 5, 2015 at 2:31 pm (9 years ago)

    I love it when kids get in the kitchen. They can come up with such wonderful, inventive dishes with amazing flavor. They really have a gift.

  16. Ronni
    May 5, 2015 at 11:01 am (9 years ago)

    I love seeing kids in the kitchen! This group is seriously impressive too! How fun to watch!

  17. Penelope Guzman
    May 5, 2015 at 3:08 am (9 years ago)

    I would actually love to witness this! How cool!!

  18. Sabrina @ Dinner, then Dessert
    May 5, 2015 at 2:07 am (9 years ago)

    As a chef, I love watching culinary students get some attention and recognition too. What a great event!

  19. Veronica
    May 5, 2015 at 1:23 am (9 years ago)

    Must be fun to be in a cooking contest. Their foods look so good

  20. Debbie Denny
    May 5, 2015 at 1:11 am (9 years ago)

    What a neat event. I think this would be so fun.

  21. Christie
    May 5, 2015 at 1:00 am (9 years ago)

    That would have been so cool to judge! Love that everyone got scholarships

  22. Marcie W.
    May 4, 2015 at 11:54 pm (9 years ago)

    We watch Chopped as a family on a very regular basis, so seeing that type of competition life and in person would be so much fun. Kudos to the students that successfully used onion in their desserts!

  23. Cassie
    May 4, 2015 at 11:30 pm (9 years ago)

    This sounds like a really awesome event! I would have loved to have been there myself to have seen it. More kids should be encouraged to cook.

  24. Liz Mays
    May 4, 2015 at 11:19 pm (9 years ago)

    Wow that is such a cool event. It’s so cool seeing young people with so much talent! Congrats to everyone!

  25. Jeanine
    May 4, 2015 at 11:08 pm (9 years ago)

    Wow this would be fun. Such a fun experience I bet!

  26. Megan @mnmspecial
    May 4, 2015 at 9:50 pm (9 years ago)

    What a neat experience to show up and be judging a cooking competition! Those plates look so yummy. So happy for them to all get scholarships.

  27. Stefany
    May 4, 2015 at 8:37 pm (9 years ago)

    What a neat experience for them (and you!). I agree that all of them are likely going to be very successful!

  28. Robin (Masshole Mommy)
    May 4, 2015 at 6:16 pm (9 years ago)

    That sounds like an absolute BLAST! What a cool experience.


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