The Bonney Lake High School once again beat the heat at this year’s Bite of the Apprentice Scholarship Dinner, coming away for the second year in a row as the “People’s Choice” winner of the night.
The Bite of the Apprentice is a yearly event sponsored by the American Culinary Federation and Washington State Chefs Association and hosted at the Renton Technical College.
The event is a fundraiser for the Washington state ProStart Program.
There were multiple titles the competing schools and restaurants were vying for, but the schools — Bates Technical College, Lake Washington Institute of Technology, Olympic College, Renton Technical College Culinary Arts, Renton Technical College Catering and, of course, Bonney Lake High — were aiming for “Best School” and “People’s Choice.”
Renton Technical School Catering caught the judge’s eyes (and taste buds) and took “Best School,” but the attendees voted the Panthers as their favorite.
The theme for the night was bacon, and Bonney Lake tackled the challenge with gusto, preparing a three-course meal: glazed pork belly with pickled shallots, sweet and spicy bacon scallop with chimchurri and red pepper curl, and to top it off, cinnamon and maple swirl cheesecake with a bacon crust, topped with candied bacon, spiced whipped cream and praline crumble.
Coach Kahale Ahina said the team prepped the menu after “months of planning recipes and flavor profiles” with him and his wife Jennifer.
Panthers fared well at state competition
The Panther’s success at Bite of the Apprentice comes on the heels of placing second and third in the 2018 ProStart Invitational state culinary competition, put on by the Washington Hospitality Association.
The competition was held in Spokane on March 10.
Bonney Lake, competing against nine other high schools across the state, prepared a three-course meal of a geoduck salad, braised beef and lobster tail with pomme frites and baby bok choy, and a raspberry panacotta with chocolate mousse and orange marmalade, served in a handmade sugar bowl.
The team took second in the restaurant management competition and third in the culinary competition, earning a total of $36,000 in scholarships to either the New England Culinary Institute or the Louisiana Culinary Institute, LLC. The students weren’t the only ones who came away with high praise; Ahina was given the Washington Hospitality Association Teacher Excellence award, and the team’s chef mentor, Dan Corekin, was given the 2018 Mentor of the Year award.