Smyrna Resident Wins Gold in Commercial Baking for Chattahoochee Tech

(Marietta, Ga. – April 2, 2013) Participating in Skills USA was something that Sara Mellars has wanted to do since starting in the Culinary Arts Program at Chattahoochee Technical College. The recently married 21 year old, who had heard about the competition from other classmates and instructors, was aware that the college has a reputation for doing well at the state and national levels.

So with her gold medal from the recent Skills USA Georgia Conference in hand, she is Kansas City bound this June to compete against 30-40 other students in the Commercial Baking event of the national competition. While the idea of being judged on baking breads, pies and pastries and decorating cakes for 8-9 hours seems daunting for her, Mellars is excited about the competition.

“I’m really competitive,” she said. “I’ve also competed in ice carving competitions with some of my classmates.”

Mellars competed recently in Atlanta against other students from around the state, winning the competition. Though she said she almost blanked on one of the requirements, she was able to complete a long list of tasks within the four hour time limit. Among the tasks were baking baguettes that needed to be uniform in size and scoring, blueberry muffins, several sweet dough products, éclairs, puff pastries and other goodies, as well as decorating a cake.

After taking a short breather, Mellars said she plans to resume her preparation after spring break. She hopes to garner advice and suggestions from her instructor Chef Hillary Gallagher, her co-workers and boss at the Marriott Marquis and former student competitors.

“I know that Chef Gallagher will be a big help,” Mellars said. “She is very good at offering tips and helping me come up with strategies. I’ll also be practicing here in the kitchen at school, at work and at home. I want to be prepared.”

Chattahoochee Technical College offers diploma and degree programs through its respected Culinary Arts program at the Mountain View Campus. The 62-hour degree program prepares students for the culinary profession. The program emphasizes a combination of culinary theory and practical application necessary for successful employment. Graduates who are current practitioners will benefit through enhancement of career potential. Those entering the culinary arts field will be prepared to pursue diverse opportunities as cooks, bakers or caterers/culinary managers.