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Anticipation stewing for Iron Chef Competition
Iron Chef pic1
In last years Iron Chef contest Turlock Highs team, including Principal Marie Peterson, Emmanuel Mojica and Rafael Herrera won the top prize. - photo by Journal file photo

The heat emanating from the kitchen will intermingle with the heat of competition on Friday as students from Turlock High School and Pitman High School culinary art programs warm up for the Turlock Education Foundation’s second annual Iron Chef Competition.

This year’s kitchen will be buzzing with two teams consisting of six competitors:  four students from the culinary arts programs of their respective school, the culinary arts teacher, and the site principal.

According to TEF, this year’s theme is “A Latin Flair” and teams must prepare a Latin inspired appetizer, main course, and dessert for the judges. They must also incorporate chicken, which has been donated by Foster Farms, into either their appetizer or dessert. (Yes, dessert is an option for the chicken.)

“A new thing this year that we are very excited about is Executive Chef Leroy Walker from Bistro 234 and Chef Mohini Singh from Mohini Indian Fusion Spices will be our emcees,” said TEF President Barney Gordon. “They will be accompanied by two PHS students who will be recording and projecting the competition on two large screens so the audience can get right into the action.”

Thankfully for guests who will undoubtedly begin to notice their stomachs growling as the competition progresses, TEF has them covered with appetizers and dinner catered by Memo’s Cocina & Tequila Bar.

Dessert will also be provided to guests in attendance by Turlock Adult School culinary students, who—according to Gordon—the foundation hopes to incorporate into a three-way competition in the future.

Entertainment will also be on the menu during Friday’s event as TEF is glad to announce that it will be hosting the Osborn Elementary ballet Folklorico dancing troupe, as well as showcasing the outstanding achievements and items made possible to past grant recipients with funds provided by the foundation.

During the event, guests will also be given the opportunity to participate in a 50/50 raffle and auction. In addition, a no-host bar will be available, featuring beer donated by Dust Bowl Brewing and wine donated by E&J Gallo Winery.

Participants in this year’s competition will also be awarded a number of scholarships, thanks to generous businesses and individuals, including Eileen Hamilton, E&J Gallo Winery, BBVA Compass Bank, Memo’s Cocina & Tequila Bar, and Liberty Security. 

This will be the second year that TEF will host the competition after Noon Rotary, who started the event, decided to go in another direction with their annual meetings. 

“The culinary art kids really enjoyed the annual cooking competition the Noon Rotary sponsored,” said Gordon. “It’s a great program that allows us to showcase some of the great work by our TUSD students.”

Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit TEF’s Classroom Grant Program. Additionally, those interested in helping TEF enhance and enrich the educational experience of TUSD students are encouraged to visit

This year’s showdown will begin with appetizers and drinks at 6 p.m. and the program and dinner beginning at 7 p.m. on Friday at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. Gordon reports that there are a limited number of tickets still available for purchase at