East Texans cook-off in "Chopped" style competition

East Texans cook-off in "Chopped" style competition
Source: KTRE
Source: KTRE

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Five teams competed to show-off their culinary skills, similar to the show called Chopped, and in turn help the community on Saturday.

"We had a few quirky ingredients," said Emily Fleniken, competitor.

With each round at least less than an half-hour, teams competed in creating unique appetizers, main entrée and dessert dishes.

As the pressure built, so did the surprise as to what was about come out of the baskets for each competing team.

"Tofu threw me for a loop. We do not eat tofu in my house and I didn't really know what to do with it. Tofu was the kicker," said Meagan Leclaire, another team competitor.

Five teams battled to create unique dishes palatable for the judges' mouths.

"It has been intense. I knew we were going to get things out of the basket but I didn't expect it to be so strange to me in cooking. I panicked a little in the beginning," said Amber Warner, competitor.

Chef Britany Vinson, with TOME Catering, said the aim for it's first of its kind chopped competition in Lufkin is to bring ingredients into the community and welcome outside the box ideas.

"We had one of the teams make fried tomatillo. I thought that was pretty neat. Something you never see, I've seen fried green tomatoes but not tomatillos," Vinson said.

Funds raised from the chopped competition provided scholarships to students considering a future in culinary.

"Instead of having the roadblocks of finances to go to college so I want to take that fear away and say here's a start," Vinson explained.

Vinson said the event raised enough funds to award three high school students with one thousand dollars each in scholarships.

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