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CTE Students and National Guard Team Up for MRE Challenge

Friday, February 07, 2020

Culinary Arts students and the Army National Guard teamed up for a cooking competition using Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) as their inspiration. The 2020 MRE Challenge was held on February 7 at the F. Donald Myers Education Center. The competition was in the style of “Chopped” or “Iron Chef America.” 

Culinary students were given several MREs, the prepared meals soldiers typically eat, to create a new dish. The 2,000-calorie packs are meant to keep troops fed in the field, but are not known for their culinary excellence. The challenge was for the students to come up with something interesting and tasty. 

Three teams of high school students from Saratoga High School participated and were supervised by their instructors and two New York Army National Guardsmen. Their creations were critiqued by a panel of four judges, which included: WTEN Reporter Cassie Hudson, Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, Emil Baker, the Employer Outreach Director for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, and Peter Potter, Public Affairs Director at the Stratton VA. 

Team BOCES, which was Jordan Bishop and Bryan Camaj of Saratoga Springs High School, was chosen as the winner. Their dish was a version of Chili Mac with fried tortillas served. They also served grape juice with lemon and a secret ingredient - twizzlers.

All three teams made excellent dishes. The judges were impressed with how the students were able to elevate the MRE into gourmet meals.