Food is more glorious than ever when you make it yourself!

Today’s youth are being stereotyped as the microwave kids. But wait, there are some teenagers who like to cook, who feel that their calling is in the kitchen. These are the culinary arts students at the Pittsburgh Job Corps Center.

CHEFS OF TOMORROW—The four-member team stands before the judges as instructors and others look on.

Recently, they competed in the culinary arts competition called Iron Chef, “Eat Right, Cook Light.” The event took place in Atlantic City, New Jersey and pitted teams against each other for money prizes from the Philadelphia Region of Job Corps. Fifteen centers competed and the Pittsburgh Job Corps Center walked away with nine awards and came in second place overall.


Team members were: Iron Chef Richard Hornaman (Erie); Sous Chef, Richard Watkins (Pittsburgh); Garde Manager—Elizabeth Schwartz (Pittsburgh); Team assistants—Jordan Scott-Gregory (Pittsburgh) and Brittany Koehler (York).

The teams compete in two rounds. Each round consists of three hours of prep time and two hours of cooking and plating.

The nine team awards were in fields such as sanitation, teamwork, mise en place (prep), written exam, centerpiece, presentation and taste.

Judges consisted of several TV personalities such as The Skinny Chef and Robert Irvine and several working chefs from the Philadelphia and New Jersey area.

Currently, the PJCC team members have completed their program at the Pittsburgh Job Corps. One is working at the Rivers Cas­ino; two have gone on to advanced culinary training (Richard Watkins at Treasure Island, Calif., and Elizabeth Schwartz at Penobscot Job Corps in Bangor, Maine); and one is continuing his education in the college program at Com­munity College of Alle­gheny County. The PJCC Culinary Arts students are instructed by Jeff Lee and Dave Weisbecker.

1st round: Written exam, knife skills,1 appetizer, 1 soup, 1 salad, 1 hot entrée w/ starch and vegetable, 1 dessert, 1 edible centerpiece.

2nd round: top 4 teams make it to this round, 3 entrées, 2 starch items, 2 veggie items, 1 salad, 1 dessert.

In the first round Each team is given a basket with some items (tuna, chicken, rice, jicama) which must be used in the menu. The students then have $150.00 to buy the rest of the ingredients to complete the menu. The PJCC students used a South American theme for their menus.

1st round menu

App-Seared orange ginger ahi tuna lettuce wraps w/, avocado and black bean relish


Salad-jicama tangerine salad w/ garlic tangerine dressing

Entrée- Coconut lime chicken w/ spaghetti vegetables and saffron rice

Dessert- chocolate ricotta mousse

Centerpiece- carved fruit floral arrangement

In the second round they were given duck breast, salmon, brown rice, beets and had $100 to buy the rest of the ingredients for the menu. They must work within the budget and timeframe.

2nd round menu

Salad- jicama tangerine salad w red cabbage and tangerine garlic dressing

Entrée 1- Dijon citrus salmon

Entrée 2- roasted duck breast w sweet cherry sauce

Entrée 3- coconut orange chicken

Starch 1- roasted pepper couscous

Starch 2- brown rice w roasted pine nuts and garlic

Veg 1- cauliflower w herb butter

Veg 2- grilled balsamic beets

Dessert- chocolate ricotta mousse

Job Corps, a part of the U.S. Labor Department’s Employment and Training Administration, is the nation’s largest career technical training and education program for students ages 16-24. It provides training and support services to more than 100,000 your people each year at 123 centers in 48 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. For more information about Job Corps, call (800) 733-JOBS (5627) or visit

Also On New Pittsburgh Courier:
comments – Add Yours