STUDENTS FROM Robert Bateman High School partnered with members of the Burlington Fire Department yesterday (Oct. 8) to perform their own version of the popular Top Chef cooking program while teaching important fire safety tips. As part of this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme of promoting safe, attentive cooking, the Burlington Fire Department, the Burlington Restaurant Association and Robert Bateman High School engaged in a fun and educational cooking competition. Four teams, each with a Burlington fire department official and two Bateman culinary students, competed to create a fiery dish from a mystery box of ingredients. Contestants earned points by answering cooking safety trivia. Those who answered incorrectly were placed in a hockey-like penalty box for a short period of time. The fire department stressed that the number one cause of home fires is unattended cooking. Fire officials stressed these safety reminders were timely given Thanksgiving is this weekend, when many cook at home. Other features of the event included interactive stations with information on smoke and CO alarms, the 911 call system, career options in the fire service, a firefighter crash course and technology demos as well as Burlington Fire Department truck display. Each year, the Burlington Fire Department promotes Fire Prevention Week with a kick-off event, typically in the form of an open house. This year, due to significant renovations at Headquarters Station No. 1, the launch activities were held at Robert Bateman High School. Grade 11 student Vanessa Plouffe said she enjoyed being under pressure since teams were given only two hours to build a dish from scratch. “It was a great learning experience,” she said, adding there can be many hazards that occur when cooking, so being safe is key. “It’s good we are precautious.” Director of Education Stuart Miller was one of the judges on hand to taste and score the dishes. He said the competition was a great partnership between the fire department and school. He noted many of the students will pursue professions as chefs.
“Students had to cooperate and collaborate with firefighters and each other so this was authentic training for being in a kitchen,” he said.
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