Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Putnam County High School wins third annual GaDOE Student Chef Competition

March 25, 2019 – The Georgia Department of Education held its third annual Shake it Up Farm-to-School Student Chef Competition Thursday, March 21 in Macon. Student teams from nine school districts prepared student-developed recipes featuring Georgia Grown ingredients.  


The Putnam County High School team took first place for Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Mango Salsa and Lime Crema. Led by culinary arts teacher Penny Reynolds, the team is composed of three Putnam High students: Jada Manson, Kayla Russell, and Khrislyn Jones. Manson, Russell, and Jones will each receive a $16,000 scholarship to Sullivan University and the team will move on to compete in the Southeast Regional Competition in May.  


“The Student Chef Competition is a perfect example of the direction we’re moving in here in Georgia,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “We want to encourage learning that is out of the box, outside the status quo, and relevant to students’ lives and plans after high school. The Student Chef competition connects the school cafeteria with students’ learning, and gives kids a chance to gain hands-on experience that could lead to a future career.”


Each team developed a nutritious, student-friendly recipe that included Georgia Grown foods and USDA Foods and could easily be incorporated into the school food service program. Recipes that reached the final competition were judged on overall appeal, appearance and execution, taste, presentation, and sanitation and food safety. Dr. Ellen Steinberg, GaDOE Food Safety Specialist, observed the team to ensure they followed key food safety guidelines and requirements. Chef Andy Anderson, Culinary Arts Program Manager at Helms College, assisted teams as they prepared their entries for judging.


Judges for the competition were Chef Andy Anderson, Malissa Marsden from the American Egg Board and Mushroom Council, and Chef Morgan Dockery, Culinary Arts Area Manager from Houston County.


“Reaching the finals in this competition was no easy task,” said Laura Tanase, Health and Wellness Specialist for the Georgia Department of Education. “These teams had to develop recipes that included locally grown foods, fit within the current nutrient standards for school meals, and could win over the judges with their presentation and great taste. We are so proud of all the participants and this year’s three winning teams. Every student involved did a wonderful job.”


The Putnam County High team will represent Georgia at the Southeast Region Jr. Chef Competition May 9 and 10 at Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky.


Last year’s Southeast Region winners from Gwinnett County’s Maxwell High School of Technology all currently attend Sullivan University tuition-free.


Student Teams (winners noted; all other teams in alphabetical order by school district)


FIRST PLACE: Putnam County High School – Putnam County Schools

Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Mango Salsa & Cilantro Lime Crema

Students: Jada Manson, Kayla Russell, Khrislyn Jones

Culinary Arts Teacher: Penny Reynolds, MCFE

Prize: $16,000 scholarship to Sullivan University for each student


SECOND PLACE: Maxwell High School of Technology – Gwinnett County Schools

EnTHAIcing Swoodles of Noodles

Students: Kaitlyn Bishop, Gaelle Dorisme

Culinary Arts Instructor: Amanda Williams

Prize: $10,000 scholarship to Sullivan University for each student


THIRD PLACE: Newton College and Career Academy – Newton County Schools

Savory Southwest Chicken Wrap with Greek Yogurt Cilantro Dressing

Students: Logan Johnston, Jasmine Hibbert

Culinary Arts Teacher: Charlotte Joy

Prize: $6,000 scholarship to Sullivan University for each student


Rutland High School – Bibb County Schools

Curried Jamaican Beef Patties

Students: Keon Burnett, Keila Carter

FACS Teacher/FCCLA Adviser: Vanessa Pabalan


Etowah High School – Cherokee County Schools

Tex-Mex Quinoa Bowl

Students: Maria Girard, Isabelle Bridges, Milas Dominquez, Alexander Fiscarelli

FACS Teacher/FCCLA Adviser: Amanda Shafer


Dublin High School – Dublin City Schools

Buffalo Chicken Wrap

Students: Jazmyne Myricks, Shamequa Ervin, Ja’Mecca Spencer, DaVedrique Devoe

FACS Teacher: Denise Strickland


Armuchee High School – Floyd County Schools

Zesty Ranch Chicken Wraps

Students: Riley Buffington, Ivy O’Neal

FACS Teacher: Margaret Henderson


Johns Creek High School – Fulton County Schools

Chicken Butternut Squash Pasta with Broccoli

Students: Lenox Lee, Andrew Miller, Katherine Rudden, Vincent Vo

JCHS Culinary Club Sponsor: Sharon Martino


Jackson County Comprehensive High School – Jackson County Schools

Lettuce Wraps & Yum Yum Sauce

Students: Pla Thao, Ashanti Ledford, Kylie Landrum

FACS Teacher/FCCLA Adviser: Brooke Curtis