PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Students at Woodruff Career and Technical Center in Peoria put their skills to the test on Thursday for a schoolwide team challenge.

Students in 10 categories, including 16 culinary students, were judged by local industry experts.

“So each program at Woodruff will put on a different challenge that they put towards their students and then the students have to use their critical thinking, teamwork, and everything they’ve learned in their curriculums to create a solution for a problem,” explained Jetty Miedema, culinary arts teacher and program director at Woodruff Career and Technical Center.

Similar to the show Chopped, culinary students were given a set number of ingredients, then given an hour to make a tasty dish. They were judged by Chef Mike from Olympia in Peoria and Chef Becky from The Cookery in Morton.

“We have duck breast, we have cabbage, they have brown rice in there, and they have to use those ingredients mandatory in order to create a dish,” said Miedema.

Miedema said the challenge helps prepare students for real world careers.

“We’re really looking for those essential employability skills that they can utilize… such as discussing with your team, look at the problem in front of you and use your critical thinking skills to meet the challenge,” she said.

Last week, the culinary team won the Illinois Pro-State Invitational, a competition put on by the National Restaurant Association.

The team has won six years in a row. They will represent Illinois at the national competition in Washington D.C. in May.

“We’ve held onto this trophy since 2018, and we’re just lucky we have amazing students that are entering our program and we always have students that are willing to put in the work, cause that’s really what it takes. It just takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and teamwork and practice,” said Miedema.