Holiday lights flash in Room A225. Music streams out accompanied by exquisite aromas. The comforting sound of classroom chatter greets all who enter. It’s the Viking Saga holiday bake-off.
The journalism class event allowed students to show their culinary skills in a competitive environment. Contestants’ baked goods were critiqued by a highly skilled council of judges: Saga editor-in-chief Julia Walker, Entertainment editor Michael Alfieri, and head chef Karla Sullivan.
Chefs were tasked with baking goods for the class while incorporating Thanksgiving and Christmas and winter holiday themes.
The rubric was based on theme, creativity, taste, and texture. Each section was graded on a scale of 10.
A wave of “Oohs” and “Aahs” swept through the class as Chloe Coogan brought forth an arrangement of blissful snowmen perched atop a valley of white frosting.
Chloe’s marshmallow mountain took a creative twist and combined winter and spring. It depicted the transition from cool weather to warm and what that effect had on some unfortunate snowmen.
“I was really nervous and a bit afraid, because of the day off I had to put the cupcakes in the freezer and that made the snowmen look melted,” said contestant Coogan.
Her masterpiece was constructed with chocolate cupcake iced with vanilla frosting. Decorative snowmen were made of marshmallow frosting on top.
“The vanilla icing was delicious and the cupcake was moist and very, very well done,’’ said Ms. Sullivan.
Madden Buckely, the next cook, pulled the cloth off her plate to reveal a stunning presentation of vibrant colors and magnificent details.
The centerpiece was a beautiful handmade cookie turkey surrounded by smaller cookies detailed with Christmas wreaths and fall colors.
The X-mas/Thanksgiving mashup was served with pumpkin eggnog and the cookie itself actually contained eggnog extract. The details and caught the judges’ eyes.
The competition was held on November 8th. Originally it was to be held on Friday the week before. Due to a day off of school caused by high winds, it was postponed a week.
This unforeseeable change in schedule had quite an effect on the contestants.
It was also noted by Karla that Madden’s cookies seemed to lack the taste she was looking for in a homemade cookie. Madden had to freeze her dish, which may have been the reason for the lack of taste. While the addition of the sweet icing saved the flavor, it is clear that all cooks suffered from the schedule change.
The date change took two cooks out of the competition completely. James Chekal and Priya Whitley were signed up for the cook-off, but were unable to bring anything in. Priya brought in pictures to show of the hard work she put into the mini apple pies she would have shared with the class.
“During our 7:30 class, it’s easy to be tired and unenthusiastic, but this woke us up. Both cooks did an amazing job,” said Walker.
With everything taken into consideration, the judges had a tough decision to make.
“Both contestants did really well and they both had to fight against the weather, so I was very impressed by the work they put in. So it was very tough to pick a winner,” said Alfieri.
The final score was 100:92, with Coogan’s snowy masterpiece taking the win. The competition was almost a tie.