Story and photos by David Pan
The champion defended his title.
Mountlake Terrace’s Erik Hartzog, along with new partner Jeremy Hargiss, took first place at the 2013 Iron Chef Edmonds School District Competition Tuesday afternoon at Edmonds Community College.
Hartzog won the competition last year with a different partner. Having participated last year helped calm Hartzog’s nerves coming into the 2013 competition.
“It definitely helped being here for the second time,” the Mountlake Terrace junior said. “I was more comfortable and more confident. I knew more what to expect.”
Hartzog and Hargiss prepared scallops with orange sauce, sweet potato fritters, and risotto with pineapple juice and jalapenos. Hartzog’s interest in cooking started more than a decade ago and can be attributed to his family, who enjoys cooking.
The apron that Hartzog wore during the competition was his grandparents’ apron.
“It was my good luck charm,” Hartzog said.
Hartzog already is looking toward the future and plans to enroll in Edmonds Community College’s culinary program. And he hopes to be back next year to try and win another Iron Chef title.
“I’ll be going for three,” Hartzog said.
For Edmonds-Woodway’s Ida Basha, the competition was a new and exciting experience.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” she said. “It was so fun. It was a learning experience.”
Basha likes to experiment when she’s cooking.
“You learn new things,” she said. “You cook with things you’ve never cooked with before. If it’s a bad result, you learn from it or change it.”
Basha and partner Lily Herbert prepared steak, potatoes and a cranberry salad with almonds.
Lynnwood’s Sumeya Jama also found the competition to be both exciting and nerve-wracking. Among the dishes Jama and partner Larisa Datskahya prepared was an African rice.
“We like to do international foods in our chef class,” said Jama, a senior, who is hoping to attend the Culinary Art Institute after high school.
Also competing were Meadowdale’s Jack Stutz and Miguel Montoya.
This marked the sixth year the four Edmonds District Schools have competed against each other. Mountlake Terrace family consumer science teacher Kimberly Nelson is the co-creator of the event, which started about 12 years ago with fewer schools.
The head chef on each team was responsible for coming up with the menu and determining the costs, Nelson said. The teams prepared a main dish, a side dish and then an optional dish (dessert, appetizer). The students had an hour and half to cook their meals, which were then evaluated by four judges.
The judges included Josh Critchley (Whole Foods Deli Manager), Katelyn Remick (Seattle Art Institute and Iron Chef America contestant), Marleen Collins (Tubs & Subs owner) and Rebecca Bolin (cooking expert).
All of the teams, with the exception of Edmonds-Woodway, won at their respective schools. Basha and Herbert filled in for two students, who couldn’t make Tuesday’s competition because they are softball players.