Corbin High School’s, “Roastin’ Redhounds” came up just short in the state junior chef competition, finishing second to Harlan County in Friday’s final match.
The team of Kendell Lewis, Rachel Standifer and Sierra Johnson defeated Taylor County, and after earning a bye in the elite eight, East Jessamine to set up the final match against 13th Region rival Harlan County.
Corbin had defeated the Black Bears in the regional tournament. However, because they had the highest score among the regional runner-ups, Harlan County earned a spot in the state tournament.
Though she has not yet seen the scores or judges remarks from the final match, Coach Jessica Lester said she was surprised by the result as she thought her team made a flawless dish and gave solid answers to the judges questions.
“I am so proud of them,” Lester said of the Redhounds.
“I saw no mistakes on our part.”
Johnson said despite the last loss, she is happy with what the team accomplished.
“It was such an honor to compete at the state level especially in the final round,” Johnson said.
Lewis said one of the keys to the team’s success was the bond that had developed and she is happy to be taking those friendships forward.
“I’m sad that my last year is coming to an end but I have gained two sisters in Sierra and Rachel while being on this team,” Lewis said.
Standifer, the only member who will be returning in 2019, said she is excited about the prospects even with new teammates.
“It was so much fun competing at state and I can’t wait to do it again next year,” Standifer said.
Lester said she had not heard of any new teams in the 13th Region, meaning Corbin will battle Whitley County in the district tournament and Harlan County will await the winner in the region.
As to the strategy for 2019, Lester said the spice level of the Redhounds’ buffalo chicken squash and zucchini boats with a strawberry apple salsa and homemade tortilla chips was a point of contention as a judge in the district competition said it wasn’t hot enough but another judge in the region competition noted it was too hot.
“We will try to develop something that is full of flavor, but not heat because the level of heat varies from person to person,” Lester said.