NEA students advance to final round of NASA national competition
JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Astronauts in space could soon eat meals prepared by students in Northeast Arkansas.
Five local high school students from the Northeast Arkansas Career and Technical Center advanced to the finals of the HUNCH Culinary Challenge. They head to Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, April 19.
Student chefs Juan Velazquez, Dillon Adams, Yasmine Talib, Layla Wright, and Brianna Smallman have the chance to get their food sent to the NASA space station and eaten by real astronauts.
The NEACTC is one of 10 schools in the country still in the competition.
Talib said she couldn’t believe they made it to the finals.
“I was at lunch when Chef came and told me the news,” she said. “I was completely shocked. My mouth was open, I was so excited, and it was amazing.”
NEACTC Culinary Arts Instructor Zane Johnson said the task is to make an ethnic stew or soup.
“They chose a hearty minestrone soup,” Johnson said.
The students and the teacher all said the hardest part of perfecting their dish was finding a way to make it tasty while following the specific dietary restrictions.
Velazquez said their dish also had to be low in sodium.
“I didn’t realize how many dishes actually had salt in it, so we had to improvise and use lemon and spices to counteract that,” he said.
Johnson is proud of his students making it to the final round of the competition and their improved skills in the kitchen.
They will be competing in Houston from April 19-21, and winners will be announced at a later date.
Copyright 2023 KAIT. All rights reserved.