Cherokee Nation Talking Leaves Job Corps (TLJC) students recently vied for the title of “Top Chef” at the Sizzle Serve Succeed food competition held at the Dallas Region Culinary Expo in Little Rock, Arkansas. TLJC students competed against 16 teams from as far as Montana, New Mexico, and Utah, placing second in the knowledge bowl and fourth in the overall competition. Participants were judged based on their culinary skills and knowledge, determined through a written test and cooking competitions.
During the final cook-off, TLJC students delighted judges with dishes like pork tenderloin and fresh pasta, earning them fourth place in the overall competition.
“This was an amazing experience for both me and my students at TLJC,” said their instructor Linda Lear. “The experience of team building, getting to execute the cooking skill they have learned and becoming a chef for a week will be something they will never forget. Just to have the opportunity to attend the culinary expo was great but placing in the finals of both the cooking and knowledge bowl shows the hard work and dedication they put forth to achieve their goal. This is the rewarding part of this job that I love.”
Talking Leaves Job Corps is a free education and career technical training program administered by the United States Department of Labor. Cherokee Nation operates the facility in Tahlequah, which helps young people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training.