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Olivia Armstrong shows off her rosemary and fennel beef tenderloin with purple potato cauliflower smash with Parmesan crusted asparagus.

Olivia Armstrong Shines Bright at Listen to the Mrs. Cooking Competition.

May 18, 2016       Leave a Comment
By: Pati LaLonde

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Olivia Armstrong has big dreams of one day becoming a chef.

Enrolled in the Culinary Arts Institute at the Bay-Arenac Intermediate School District Career Center, she got to show what she could do in the WSGW Listen to the Mrs. food competition, hosted by the Maytag Store and Michigan Sugar Wednesday at the Maytag Store in Saginaw Township.

Competing against fellow Career Center students and two teams from the Culinary Arts program at the Tuscola Technology Center, the John Glenn Junior took second place for her Rosemary and fennel beef tenderloin, with purple potato cauliflower smash with Parmesan crusted asparagus, picking up $150 for her efforts.

With her partner Lydia Vestaburg from Frankenmuth out sick, and deciding to go without recipes, Lydia came up with a dish that was not only colorful but tasty as well. "I was already prepared," she said. "I was excited to do it on my own. I memorized the recipe, but then just decided to go with the flow.

"I was shooting for color, with the purple potatoes and I love asparagus," she added. Olivia had a high-tech kitchen gadget in her corner as well using an inversion circulator for the beef.

"You set the water for the temperature you want," explained Denise Fahrenbach, Culinary Arts instructor. "The meat is vacuum sealed and cooks to the exact temperature of the water. Then you can take it out and put it on the grill or in the oven."

Olivia is planning on heading to a culinary arts school, hopefully, one of the Culinary Institute of America schools around the country.

Hailey Haas, a junior at Standish-Sterling High School and Brittanie Rapcka a student at Bay City Central High School took fourth place for their stuffed pork tenderloin with apple cider glaze, roasted rosemary potatoes with green beans and Parmesan chips. They share $50. Also in the culinary arts program at the ISD, Hailey does plan on attending the CIA and becoming a personal chef, while Brittanie is opting between chef and occupational therapist. Winning the competition was Madison Ill and Christina Grignani, Millington High School students, from the Tuscola Technology Center, with their chicken spinach phyllo, Greek rice and seafood vegetables. The duo won $200.

Third place went to Zeke Coyer from Caro High School and Jonas Yoder from USA High School for their porchetta with butternut squash and portabella risotto, winning $100.

Fahrenbach says the day went beyond competition.

"It's about the kids and the experience," she said. "I looked at all the juniors (in the program) and these four exhibited strong competitive streak. I'm looking to enhance next year's Skills USA and ProStart (culinary) competition."


Bailey Haas and Brittanie Rapcka's stuffed pork tenderloin with apple cider glaze roasted rosemary potatoes with green beans with Parmesan chips.

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Pati LaLonde

Pati is a freelance writer with experience in all things pertaining to Bay County, Michigan.

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