Since the burritos hit the cafeteria, the team has had the chance to observe students’ reactions.
“When it was first served in the cafeteria, a lot of people thought it was weird because it had apples in it,” said Rouse, “they would pick the apples out.”
But over time, students started getting used to the combination.
“I think a lot of them didn’t really think that apples and sausage and cheese can go together, but we showed them how we can be creative with food,” said Roberts.
The weeks of practice leading up to the competition helped the team solidify their concept, and also prepared them for curveballs that came their way on competition day.
“They were used to making the burritos with precooked sausages,” explained chef Michael Bell, one of Randolph’s culinary teachers who guided the team to success. “But at the competition, the sausages were not precooked.”
Another glitch was that the team practiced with fresh Granny Smith apples, but received packaged Red Delicious apples.
“The fresh Granny Smiths are crisp and tart and lend themselves well to the cheddar and sausage they were working with, while the Red Delicious apples tend to be mushy,” said Bell.
But these setbacks didn’t slow the team down. With 20 minutes to make the six burritos for the judges, the team worked together to improvise and play their parts.
“We were so scared at the five-minute mark,” said Roberts, “but we pulled through.”
Subsequently, the team had an hour to make about 400 burritos for a waiting audience.
“There is a harmony that has to take place in order to turn out hundreds of burritos and to turn out beautiful, well-designed plates for the judges,” Bell said. “With each and every one’s participation, they were playing a song. The song they played was with food, plates, and knives.”
The team is looking forward to the next challenge, but the Culinary Voice competition is on hiatus as the District considers ways to expand the reach of the program.
The other schools are beginning to talk about us, team members remarked, citing some friendly competition.
“At their age, with their ability, I’d put them up against anything,” Bell said.