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Yum! MCPSS high school students compete in Beef, Pork and Peanut Cook-Off

First-place winners in the Beef, Pork and Peanut Cook-Off are shown with Dr. William White, Executive Director of CTE and Workforce Development at MCPSS. From left are Italy Caceres of Williamson High and Patience Hawkins and Clayton Williams of Vigor High. Italy placed first in the peanut category; Patience placed first in the pork category; and Clayton placed first in the beef category.

As part of Career and Technical Education Month, MCPSS held the Beef, Pork and Peanut Cook-Off at Vigor High School for 25 high school culinary students from nine MCPSS high schools. Six winners were selected (three from each category) by a panel of judges who evaluated the entrees for taste, presentation and creativity.


The first-place winner in the beef category was Clayton Williams, an 11th-grader at Vigor High School, who created a “Pineapple Steak Bowl” with sirloin steak, rice and peppers, served in a hollowed half of a pineapple. Clayton is eligible to compete in the Alabama Junior & Senior High School Cookoff state competition, which will be held in Birmingham in April.


Winners in the other categories were as follows:

Beef: Second place, Jamie Purifoy, senior, Murphy High School; third place, Ja’Lylaah Morgan, junior, Williamson High School

Pork: First place, Patience Hawkins, senior, Vigor High School; second place, Hunter Maples, senior, Bryant High School; third place, Nyla Smith, junior, Davidson High School

Peanut: First place, Italy Caceres, Williamson High School; second place, Sydney Edmonds, Citronelle High School; third place, Teeta Ozaeta, Baker High School


The competition helps students to learn technical and organizational skills, said Danielle Booth, Career Tech supervisor for Mobile County Public Schools. “And creativity is a part of it as well.”

Here is Clayton Williams’ recipe for “Pineapple Steak Bowl:”


• 1 lb. Sirloin or flank steak

• 1 Yellow Onion or Sweet Onion

• 1 Red pepper

• 1 pineapple, cut in half and hallowed.

• green onions

• Seasonings combination of white pepper, salt, garlic powder

• 1 oz. Soy sauce (dark and light)

• 1 tablespoon of baking soda (this adds a nice crust to the beef when frying)

• Canola oil and sesame oil

• 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce

• Sriracha

• Brown sugar

• Thai chili peppers

• Minced garlic

• 1 cup of jasmine rice

• Canadian steak seasoning to taste

• Parsley for garnish


Step 1: Cut the pineapple in half, then hollow out to create bowls. Set the pineapple meat and juice aside.

Step 2: Prepare the steak. Cut beef into nice size chunks and add to a bowl. Add olive oil, soy sauce, 1 -2 tablespoons of pineapple juice, cornstarch, white pepper and garlic powder. Mix until everything is coated. Set aside and marinate for at least 20 minutes.

Step 3: Wash and cook the rice. While the rice cooks, chop up red bell pepper, yellow and green onion. In a mortar and pestle, mash down garlic cloves and Thai chili peppers to create a paste.

Step 4: To make the sauce, combine oyster sauce, dark and light soy sauce, brown sugar, Sriracha and pineapple juice. Mix well and set aside.

Step 5: Cook the meat. In a wok or large pan over medium high heat, add about 1/4 cup oil. Shallow fry the beef until golden brown and crispy on all sides. Remove from the pan. Add a little sesame oil, then the chili garlic paste. Sautè until fragrant, about 1 minute. Then add in peppers and onions and sautè for about 3 minutes. Add in pineapple chunks. Sautè for 2 additional minutes.

Step 6: Add the beef back into the pan and pour the sauce over it. Mix well until everything is coated and the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from the heat.

Step 7: Pour the beef mixture into the pineapple shells. Add garnish and serve. Enjoy!


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