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2 East Meck culinary students win national competition

Blair Riggsbee (left) and Jensine Crowder beat 37 teams from across the country in a national culinary competition for East Mecklenburg High School.
Blair Riggsbee (left) and Jensine Crowder beat 37 teams from across the country in a national culinary competition for East Mecklenburg High School. Dale Richardson

East Mecklenburg High School’s culinary team brought back the school’s second win in a national competition after an event in Nashville earlier this week.

Jensine Crowder, a rising senior, and 2017 graduate Blair Riggsbee had won at a state competition in January at Johnson & Wales University, sending them on to the national competition at the annual conference of FCCLA, the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, an organization that supports youth in public and private schools with careers and community life.

The organization includes a culinary competition in which teams from around the country make the same three set of dishes. This year, it was Teres Major Steak with a Dijonaise Sauce, a potato and parsnip puree and a frisee, apple and walnut salad.

East Meck culinary instructor Dale Richardson, who also had a winning team four years ago, said the two worked “like a well-oiled machine.”

“I’m one proud mama,” she said. “This is what fuels a teacher’s fire.”

For their win, both young women have a choice between a full scholarship to Sullivan University in Louisville, or partial scholarships totaling a potential $100,000 at a long list of national culinary schools, including Johnson & Wales and the Culinary Institute of America.

Two other East Meck students, Jelani Holloway and A’kecia Robinson, also won gold medals at the conference in a competition on traffic safety.

Kathleen Purvis: 704-358-5236, @kathleenpurvis

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