Culinary Arts students' beefy creation named "Best Burger in Ohio" in 2019
May 13, 2019
Parma City School District's Career and Technical Education Culinary Arts program once again proved they know how to make the best burger in the state of Ohio.
For the second year in a row, students have taken home the top prize at the third annual Burger Battle, sponsored by the Ohio Beef Council. The competition took place on February 23-24 in Columbus at the 17th annual Ohio ProStart Invitational and featured teams from all across the state.
Two seniors, John Londrico from Normandy High School and Bridgette Scholle from Parma Senior High School, were the masterminds behind their prized breakfast burger called "Smashed Brunch Burger".
Iann Johnson, Culinary Arts instructor, explained why they were the best students for the job.
“I gave everyone the opportunity to try out,” Johnson expressed. “Those two worked very well together and they both have industry experience. They were ready to step up.”
Preparation for the competition started a few months ago, after the team was solidified.
“After we came up with the idea, we had to lay out the cost, the ingredients and our inspiration for a presentation for the judges,” Londrico explained.
The “Smashed Brunch Burger” was comprised of pan-seared seasoned beef patties, melted smoked gouda cheese, a crispy potato latke, pickled onions, basted egg and whole grain mustard maple aioli on top of a toasted brioche bun.
For months, they practiced and perfected that same recipe over and over.
“The kids put in more than 200 hours afterschool committing themselves to the competition,” Johnson said. “They had the commitment, organization, and a teamwork mindset.”
The competition does not provide any equipment or ingredients, aside from the beef, and students only have 45 minutes to set up, prepare, craft the perfect burger and then tear down.
“We had to practice stacking our carts, cleaning our station, and packing our coolers,” Scholle explained. “We took a lot of trips to the store.”
The day before the competition, Johnson, Londrico and Scholle checked in their ingredients. Then they presented their ideas, costs, pictures and recipe to the judges. In addition, students had the opportunity to meet an array of industry professionals.
“The experience was great,” Scholle said. “We got to meet a lot of chefs from all around Ohio. It was very formal.”
On the day of the competition, Londrico was ready to show the judges his skills.
“Working at the Sword and Shield taught me to be ahead of the game and to have my priorities in order,” he shared.
“The anticipation was outrageous and nerve-racking,” Scholle added.
Londrico and Scholle both won $500 along with scholarship money for their future endeavors in the culinary industry, for taking home the top honor.
Londrico will be headed to Charlotte, North Carolina to attend Johnson & Wales University to study Restaurant and Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts. Scholle is hoping to work on an oil rig in the south of Alaska after completing all of her certifications.
“They’re good kids, and I’m very proud,” Johnson shared. “Soon we’ll start preparing for next year’s Burger Battle.”
PHOTO CAPTION: John Londrico, left, (Normandy) and Bridgette Scholle, right, (Parma) hold up their burger creation, the “Smashed Brunch Burger” which placed first at the Ohio ProStart Invitational.