Warrior Way Cafe students heading to Nationals in May

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A group of Peoria culinary students is heading to Nationals after a very successful weekend.

Warrior Way Cafe is part of Woodruff Career & Technical Center. Four students make up the management team which won third place. Students and staff say when they heard they won, they were jumping with joy.

“Oh my goodness I was so proud. It was amazing it was the absolute greatest feeling. I was jumping up and down so high for them,” said Jetty Miedema, Culinary Arts Instructor with Warrior Way Cafe.

“It’s actually amazing that if you put your mind to it, you can get a great outcome whatever you want to do. I just started with knowing nothing about food, but look at us now!” Imani Abdul said. She’s a junior in the Warrior Way program.

“We had like a thought in the back of our heads, ‘what if we get first place it’d be so cool.’ And then they announced us! We were like oh my gosh, we jumped for joy. We were like ‘we’re going to nationals!'” Abdul said.

Next the students are heading to Washington D.C. for Nationals. The trip goes from May 8-10. Imani says she hopes the team can place top 10 in the country.

“It means a lot actually because I want to pursue culinary after I’m done with high school. I think it means so much when we won first place,” Imani Abdul said.

Miedema says there’s a lot that goes into this program.

“It’s a pretty tough program to get ready for. They have to write a restaurant concept, come up with all the crazy ideas to make it original. Learn about the management part. How many employees do we need to hire in order to staff this place?” Miedema said.

Abdul says cooking in front of judges was intimidating, but the team worked together for a great result.

“I was so scared, it was so nerve-wracking because everyone was looking at you while you were presenting. My hands were shaking, it was just overwhelming. But I’m glad of the outcome we got,” Abdul said.

This is the third year in a row the Management team has won first in state.

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