BHS culinary program hosts annual Star Tribune cookie contest
Burnsville High School hosted recipe testing for the 20th annual cookie contest of the Star Tribune newspaper last month, and students in culinary classes at the school were actively involved.
Students worked with professional chefs to test the top 19 cookie contenders, and senior Lilly Banasik participated on the judging panel.
The tasting event was organized by Rick Nelson, a 1978 graduate of Burnsville High School and former restaurant critic for the Star Tribune, and Star Tribune Taste Editor Nicole Hvidsten. Nelson and Lee Svitak Dean, the former food editor at the newspaper, have co-authored a book, entitled the “Great Minnesota Cookie Book” about the first 15 years of the popular cookie contest. The testing was headed up by Chef Amy Carter.
“This was an amazing opportunity for our students to work alongside industry professionals, get to know them and see how they work,” said Matt Deutsch, a culinary instructor at Burnsville High School. “Students worked on products they’ve never worked with before to produce all different types of cookies — many more than they could during their culinary lab time at school.”
During the two-day event, students weighed, measured and prepared ingredients, and assisted the chefs with production by mixing, shaping, baking and finishing the cookies.
“It was a really fun experience and it’s a great way to make some connections with professional chefs,” said Banasik. “Each recipe is so creative and it’s always a mystery how they turn out.”
There were nearly 225 entries this year, according to Nelson. The winning cookie and four finalists were announced in the Taste section of the Star Tribune on Dec. 1.
Deutsch, who is a trained chef in addition to being a licensed teacher, offers a variety of culinary classes right at Burnsville High School as part of the Hospitality & Tourism pathway in the Business, Management & Entrepreneurship career field.