What’s cooking in the Blackhawk Kitchen?

Some of the most memorable events in the Blackhawk Kitchen this school year were the Blackhawk Showdowns, in which the community and local businesses partner with La Quinta High School’s Culinary Academy to raise money for causes and the school.

On May 9, the culinary department made over $1,600 in ticket sales and over $500 through raffle tickets for SNIP, a mobile spay and neuter clinic. This event was made possible by community partners’ donations from E Pels Lemonade, Crown Meats of Palm Springs, Farmer Johns, and L and G Produce.

Four chefs from four different resorts in the Coachella Valley – La Quinta Resort, Ritz Carlton, Melvyn’s, and Miramonte Resort – prepared a dish implementing the “mystery ingredient,” which is provided to the chefs until 24 hours before the event. In this case, it was pork tenderloin and fresh Coachella Valley sweet corn.

Each chef prepared a dish they felt would impress the four judges: LQHS’ lead counselor, Ms. Carol Ramirez; Ironwood’s executive chef, Mark Sickenberger; Ace Hotel’s executive chef, David Mau; and LQHS’ Sysco Food representative, Matt Christopher.

Cody Krupp, KESQ’s sports anchor, was the emcee for the night, along with co-emcee, Andrew Hunter ‘18, who is a Public Service Academy (PSA) student. VIPs in the crowd consisted of Blackhawk staff and DSUSD members.

The first two dishes consisted of lemongrass pork, ginger corn pea shoots, and green almonds from the LQ Resort, while the other dish from the Ritz Carlton consisted of pork tenderloin roulade with pork sausages, ricotta gnocchi, peas, corn, morel mushroom, pineapple cherry, and a red wine sauce.

The last two dishes resulted in prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloin, creamy sweet corn, polenta puree, English peas, and pancetta relish from Melvyn’s and Mangalitsa bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, poblano and apple chutney, and sweet potato puree from Miramonte Resort. The guests were then presented with a mini chocolate tower with raspberry filling and raspberry vanilla ice cream on top made by the culinary students.

The following Blackhawk Showdown on May 19 resulted in earning $1,400 in ticket sales, with Friday Night Lights making $740 through a silent auction.

LQHS’ Culinary Academy teamed up with local private restaurants – Sammy’s Wine and Dine, The Village Pub, The Cliff House, and Trio – to create dishes for the Blackhawk Showdown. The event was also made possible by donations from E Pels Lemonade, Crown Meats of Palm Springs, Primetime Produce, The Ronin Edge, and Mellany Miller Photography and Videography.

In addition to the Culinary Academy students’ participation in this event, students from the Public Service Academy served as security, while Medical Health Academy students bussed guests’ tables. The emcee for the night was the executive director of the Desert Ensemble Theatre, Shawn Abramowitz.

This Blackhawk Showdown was especially meaningful for the high school, as fourth-year Culinary Academy student, Payden Duncan ‘18, was recognized by his teachers and members of Desert Sands Unified School District, as he will be a part of the well-renowned and highly-selective Naval Academy in Annapolis this upcoming year.

The semifinals will be held on June 6 between the two restaurant winners, The Cliff House versus Trio, as well as the two resort winners, La Quinta Resort versus the Ritz Carlton.