High school cooking class serves up award-winning dishes

A high school cooking class in Lithonia is serving up some award-winning dishes.

Miller Grove High School's Culinary Arts class teaches students technical cooking skills and the creativity to invent original delicious recipes that will prepare students for the professional world.

The students whipped up some unique wings that just took first place in the Southern Wing Showdown against dozens of professional chefs. Many of the students credit part of their success to their teacher and head chef, Keio Gayden.

"I'm a strong disciplinarian, but I also want the kids to gain a lot of life skills," said Chef Keio Gayden.

"Our chef pushes us to do everything, there's no, 'Oh I've never tried it so I can't do it'," said senior culinary arts student Akira Horsely.

Gayden just helped the students step into the professional world during the Southern Wing Showdown. The students didn't realize until the day of that they'd been invited to compete against professional chefs, and they won first place.

It's a moment Horsely will never forget.

"It was nerve wracking because we were the only high school there, so it was like 'oh we are never gonna win, this is so hard,'" said Horsely. "But surprisingly we won first place, I cried, it was so much fun such a good experience," said the senior.

But after the win, Chef Gayden reminds students that a taste of success is only the beginning: hard work is the secret sauce.

"Its not just about cooking or cutting things the right way," said Horsely. "You have to know what you're doing, and to understand what you're doing, and be passionate about what you're doing."

The students will be bringing their award-winning cooking to the Taste of Atlanta in mid-October.