December 2, 2015

Ag Ed students ‘dressing up the dog’ in food challenge

By Annette Tait
In a combination between cooking challenge TV show Top Chef and the real-world challenges of creating menu items that appeal to consumers’ taste buds, sophomore level agriculture education students spent Tuesday’s class period preparing for the upcoming judges’ scrutiny of their creations.
There’s never a dull moment in Center-Stanton High School Agriculture Education Instructor Nikki Fideldy’s classroom. This challenge is a good example why.
Fideldy works to bring life to important topics that might otherwise seem dry.
“They’re learning about food science – things like pathogens, and food safety,” Fideldy said. “So I took the idea from food shows, where they give people an item and they have to make it their own.”
In the scenario, students are employees of Sonic Restaurants. The CEO has challenged all employees to create three unique menu items using hot dogs. Their creations will be judged by Sonic’s board members and a panel of celebrity guest judges.
Fideldy recruited people to play the “board members” and “celebrities,” and actually judge the finished products which must not only have taste appeal, but be plated in an appetizing manner.
“They did the research and found good ideas,” Fideldy said of her students. “They have to write descriptions, like you would find on a menu to entice customers.”
Josh Miller was sautéing onions and jalapeno peppers for his bacon-wrapped Doyer Dog, which also included salsa, and nacho cheese. Across the room, Bailey Gerving carefully lowered her spaghetti-speared hot dog into hot water to cook.
“It’s a twist on a chili dog,” Gerving said of her Spaghetti Dog, which also included meat sauce.
James Henke stuck with the chili theme for his Mount Chili Dog, which included Colby and Monterey jack cheese and, of course, chili.
“It’s one of my favorite ones, and I thought people would like it,” Henke said of his choice.

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