Congratulations to Bella and Cameron!

Congratulations to Isabella Medina for winning 2nd place in the Arizona statewide culinary competition!
Here’s a short Q&A with our winner:
Q: What exactly did you win at this competition and what were some challenges?
A: “I did the Mise en place. The challenges I faced were issues with turning on the burner. I moved on with the challenge though and did the best I could without using the burner. Another challenge I had to overcome was my anxiety during the competition. It was my first competition I’ve participated in and I overcame that fear by talking with some of the other competitors and by walking out knowing I did the best that I could.”
Q: How do you feel about your accomplishment?
A: “Really proud of myself just because I didn’t think I would place that high and there were so many other amazing competitors.”
Q: How do you feel the Sky Islands culinary program helped you to prepare for this competition?
A: “Over the years at Sky Islands I have had many different culinary teachers that have helped me develop the critical skills needed for competitions and restaurant management. These skills include cutting and communication skills. The classes are very helpful for students in general, I think, because they teach you how to cook with non-meats. You are able to get into the mindset of how a kitchen should be run. This helped a lot with my job because I felt more comfortable running a kitchen and talking to everyone. I recommend everyone join the culinary program; you can learn how to cook and even make something really special. This prepares you with life skills or a career in the kitchen.”
Q: Are you going to pursue culinary as a future job?
A: “Yes. Right now I’m getting my 3rd year kitchen management at JTED taught by Brian King. My plan is to one day in the future own my own restaurant. I know it will be a struggle but it’ll be worth it on the end.”
Bella gives a special thanks to the people who helped her along the way including Chef Aiden, Chef Becky, Chef Stephanie, Chef Jake, Co-worker Yanitsi, Co-worker Rigo, and to Chef King!
Also, congratulations to Cameron Hagerty for placing as a finalist in the Pima County’s Living River of Words: Youth Poetry and Art Contest in 2021! For more information on this competition go to: