The 2nd Annual Forks and Corks Seafood and Science Gala was a packed evening at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab's public aquarium, the Estuarium. Eight schools from Baldwin and Mobile County participated in the 2019 event.
"This event acknowledges the value of a happy Gulf and its remarkable resources. It's very important to the state of Alabama," DISL Executive Director Dr. John Valentine said in preparation of announcing the winners of the evening. "Senator Shelby recently put $13 million in the federal budget for aquaculture. Locally sourced seafood is becoming a huge issue as people become more informed about their food. So, what you're doing is getting ready for a very productive career. For that, you deserve a lot of credit."
Citronelle Center for Advanced Technology won the 2020 Golden Ticket to the World Food Championship with their first place dish of Shrimp Tapas with a Mango Shooter and Mango Kabobs. Foley High School earned second place and Fairhope High School brought home third place. Alma Bryant High School won the People's Choice Award. Murphy High School won for Best Presentation.
"This an awesome event for our students," Mobile County Superintendent Chresal Threadgill said. "It gives them the opportunity to perform at a high-level competition, and I'm very excited about this opportunity and for my students."
Threadgill and Baldwin County Superintendent Eddie Tyler served as honorary food judges for the evening.
"I enjoyed it. The food was fantastic," Tyler shared. "I think what you're doing to allow these young people to display their talents really speaks volumes for the Dauphin Island Sea Lab."
Each team crafted their own dish and prepared it on-site in the hours before the competition. The teams were judged on presentation, execution, taste, teamwork, and planning.
"This was my first year, I had a lot of fun and the environment was good," Murphy High School teammate Trent Hayes said. "The cooking took some work, but we got through it."
"We had a really good night," Fairhope teammate Jasmine Blankenship said. "We learned a lot about teamwork and not getting stressed out."
The Fairhope team was one of three competing under the guidance of Baldwin County School's South Baldwin Center of Technology.
Team Alabama of the World Food Championship supported the event and brought the judges to the table. This year's judge's panel included Andree Burton, Ned Ferry, and Deborah Hodges. The presentation of each team was judged by University of South Alabama's Hospitality and Tourism faculty.
South Alabama's Hospitality and Tourism students also helped in prepartion for the event and served as cheferees.
This year, a portion of each ticket sale went to the participating schools.