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Photo Gallery | Cosumnes Oaks High culinary team to compete for top chef honors

Sharon Ito's blog (March 24, 2012):  The menu looks like something you'd find in a four-star restaurant: "Spicy Lamb Sausage and Fried Pacific Oyster with Micro Cilantro and Pomegranate Juice Reduction" for the first course.  "Pan Roasted Lamb Rack, Fresh Herb Cous Cous and Fried Green Tomatoes with Balsamic Wilted Kale and Bogle Sirah Port Sauce" for the entree.  "Dark Chocolate Pyramid filled with Chocolate Grand Marnier Mousse and Blood Orange Caramel" for dessert.

Now that I have your (stomach's) attention, here's the impressive part.  Four students from the Cosumnes Oaks High School Culinary Arts Institute have been perfecting these dishes in their spare time for the past several months, under the guidance of local chef and high school culinary arts instructor Jon Wheeler.  

Students D'onna Barton, Adam Lopez, Denielle Magaoay and Maya Sadler are iron chefs in training. They're competing Sunday, March 25, against other high school teams from across the state in the California ProStart Culinary Competition at the Sacramento Convention Center, an event sponsored by the California Restaurant Association.  

It's not just a complicated and delicate menu that Chef Wheeler has created.  His students have only 60 minutes to prepare their three-course meal, and they'll be observed and judged by a panel that includes certified master chefs and other restaurant professionals.  If you think that's pressure, get this.  They're only allowed to cook with two portable burners.  

I'll let you know how they do in the competition.  I already know Chef Wheeler and his students are four stars in my book.