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Student competes for national title, scholarship

“I’ve always been into cooking.”

That’s what Adam Sluterbeck, who just graduated from the Springfield-Clark Career Technical Center says about his interest in food preparation.

He won first place in a state competition held in April. Now, he’s gearing up to represent Ohio at the national level, which takes place June 24 to 28 in Kansas City.

Sluterbeck says he will compete on June 27, with the awards the next day.

David Hay, instructor of culinary arts for seniors at the CTC, said it’s the first time a student of that school has won at the state level. Sluterbeck is the only one from the CTC competing in culinary arts, but other students will compete in various other fields.

They will travel to Kansas City by charter bus. Sluterbeck told me the state competition spanned more than three hours. He made a salad, but not your run-of-the mill, thrown together salad. He mixed lettuce, thin cucumbers, pickled radishes, micro-greens tossed in a vinaigrette dressing, all spread over a German Potato salad base and topped with a Parmesan cheese crisp.

“I like to take everyday food to a different level,” he said.

At the national competition, he’ll have to work over timed segments totaling more than five hours, which includes a lunch break, making two entrees and soup.

To prepare, Sluterbeck has been practicing every other day, “working on getting it down to a quicker pace.”

“The timing is tricky, it’s definitely different,” he said. “It’s all time management.”

Hay said Sluterbeck has been “working his tail off. He’s very dedicated, and a hard worker. He’s like a big sponge — he absorbs everything.”

The CTC is well-known for its Jaguar Room at the school, which gives the culinary arts students hands-on experience in preparing and serving food. Tips the students receive for their work there go to paying for the trips to the competitions.

And Hay says the Culinary Arts Program “has been getting stronger and stronger.”

After the national competition, Sluterbeck plans to continue his education in the culinary arts. Where he goes, he said, depends on the outcome of the competition, where scholarships are presented to top finishers.

He wants to attend the Culinary Institute of America, located in Hyde Park, N.Y. Another possibility is Hocking College in southeast Ohio.

For now, he’s working at Lee’s Famous Recipe in New Carlisle and looking forward to his future.

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