Each year, the Gateway School offers a variety of themed projects as an opportunity for students to explore their interests. As a longstanding partner of Gateway, Left Coast is proud to participate in their culinary-themed project. Throughout the week, students tour NOPA, visit a Farmer's Market and bring their culinary skills to the test in three Iron Chef competitions. Laurine annually mentors students during the Iron Chef challenge and provides guidance to help make their ideas come to fruition.
This year's competition highlighted local, seasonal ingredients, and focused on cultural connections to food. Each competition is set in the school's science lab and each team has 2 hours to brainstorm and execute their creations. The food item for Laurine's day as Iron Chef was especially challenging; the four teams of four students would be required to make a dish based on tubers. They were presented with three unique and globally inspired ingredients: yucca, taro and sweet potato. Because of the diverse student population at Gateway, each student identified with the ingredients differently. It was amazing to listen to students discuss their families' recipes for yucca fries or a yucca and coconut pudding. Talk about making your mouth water! By the end of the competition the students had crafted culturally unique and delicious dishes that it was difficult to select a winner. Yet, the plate with the highest score in originality, creativity and taste was a tuna and taro cake with a side of carrot salad. Other delicious items included sweet potato cakes with yogurt, candied pecans and cranberry, coconut and yucca pudding, and sweet potato soup with candied bacon, apple relish and sour cream. Take a peek and see how delicious everything looked yourself!