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SkillsUSA Gets Fired Up for Competition

This year, four of Barlow’s culinary students will compete in a state competition hosted by ProStart, a culinary program for high school students. These students are Tyler Gyurica, Mason O’Brien, Rye Olmedo, and Ethan Quintero. They will attend the Salem Convention Center on March 18, 2024. The competition theme is a Cajun breakfast, where they will make an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert for the judges to try, all within 60 minutes. Gyurica will make the appetizer, a crawfish crab cake with a remoulade sauce. Quintero will make the entree, consisting of a tornado omelette with cajun shrimp and andouille sausage cream sauce, served with a red potato hash in a spring salad with a lemon vinaigrette. Olmedo will make the dessert which is beignets filled with a chocolate ganache. 

For Chef Sam, her goal is to give these students experience. This competition is a great opportunity for students to see what it’s like to work under a time limit with judges critiquing their work. She hopes the two sophomores, O’Brien and Quintero, will want to come back for next year’s competition, as well as give them a head start for their experience. Chef Sam’s goal for the competition is to finish all three dishes in the 60 minutes they are provided because it is a very short amount of time for the dishes to be made. 



  1. Why did you choose to take culinary?
  2. How and why did you join the competition?
  3. How do you feel regarding the competition?
  4. What are your goals for the culinary competition? 


Tyler – 

  1. I decided to take culinary arts classes at Barlow freshman year so that I could hone my skills as a chef and learn the techniques needed to work as a chef professionally as it is currently the number one career path I want to pursue at the moment. I joined SkillsUSA, the culinary club run by Chef Sam to give myself more opportunities to cook outside of school.
  2. Chef Sam showed all the club members the sign-up sheet for competitions, and I decided to go for it and challenge myself.
  3. Overall I am very excited for the competition and believe that I, along with the rest of my team members, will be able to perform very well.
  4. In terms of goals I have for competition, I would like to improve on teamwork and space management while cooking.


Mason – 


  1. I have been cooking all my life, and I want to continue.
  2. A team member quit last-minute, so Chef Sam recruited me.
  3. I feel very confident.
  4. I want us to have good communication and teamwork, finish, and win.


Rye – 

Senior, Skills USA president

  1. I chose to take culinary because I grew up not knowing a thing about how to cook. I really wanted to be able to have the skill and ability to feed myself after graduation.
  2. Before I even became president of the club, I had seen pictures of the competitors from the years prior and banners of their winnings on the wall. I always wanted to have a team to work closely with, and ProStart seemed like a challenge I’d enjoy, so I gathered my friends, and we formed a team! 
  3. I know it’s going to be hard, but I’m confident in our ability to put out our best dishes. Our team has worked hard for hours every week to shave our time to be as efficient as possible on the big day, and despite the tough competition I believe we can do well. 

Confidence aside though, I’m nervous and excited for the day we pack our stuff and drive over. We’ve been working really hard and it’s difficult to not be nervous about something going wrong. 

  1. As corny as it sounds, I genuinely just want to have fun and do my best- and I want nothing less for my teammates as well. It’s my last year in high school, and I want to make it count with this competition. We may not win, but as long as we get those plates out and are happy with the results we give, I’m happy. 


Ethan – 


  1. I didn’t want to live off of ramen.
  2. I accidentally went home on the day when you decide if you want to do competitions, so Rye pretty much dragged me by the ear onto her team.
  3. I’m nervous because succeeding at making the tornado omelette isn’t consistent yet.
  4. My goal is to make both omelettes with as few tries as possible.
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About the Contributor
Natalie Brooks
Natalie Brooks, Staff Writer

I am Natalie Brooks, and I’m a sophomore this year. This is my 1st year on the Banner and I am very excited to join. I love food, cats, and books. My favorite book is The Book Thief.


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