D’Jamonee Massey and Edwina Rogers didn’t start cooking until they started high school, but they’ve caught on fast.
Massey and Rogers gave Blount High School two of the three first-place finishers in Wednesday’s Beef, Pork and Peanut culinary competition at Murphy High School, sponsored by the Mobile County Farmers Federation
Massey took first place in the peanut category with his crunchy honey roasted peanut chicken, while Rogers made a pesto stuffed pork chop to take top honors in the pork category. Davidson’s Julie Sims finished first in the beef category with a rosemary, thyme, garlic and herb butter prime rib.
Rogers said she was “emotional” about the win because it showed that great things are happening at Blount. “This gives a whole other perspective of Blount and how people look at us,” she said. “We actually do great things. We have teachers who care about us.”
While Massey and Rogers are relative newcomers to the kitchen, Sims has been cooking since she was young and works a part-time job at Waffle House. She said she was excited to have the chance to spread her culinary wings a bit.
“I honestly didn’t even expect to win but I’m so glad that I got this opportunity to work with all these people and with my teachers on a personal level like this,” she said. “I’ve been cooking since I was little and to be able to do something so intricate is so much fun.”
Competitors, who came from high schools around the county, developed their recipes and prepared their dishes beforehand, heating and plating them on site for judging. They were judged on presentation, nutritional value, taste, ease of preparation and adherence to ServSafe guidelines for the preparation and serving of food.
“Every year, you guys continue to amaze me,” Chef Paul Wooten of Virginia College, one of the judges, told the students. “Keep up what you’re doing.”
Beef: 1. Julie Sims, Davidson; 2. Lashiron Washam, Murphy; 3. Zya Long, Blount
Pork: 1. Edwina Rogers, Blount; 2. Alex Caylor, Satsuma; 3. Taylor Houze, Baker
Peanut: D’Jamonee Massey, Blount; 2. Cameon Washington, Murphy; 3. Destiny Taliaferro, Baker