The Multicultural Food Fair Turns Up the Heat With Culinary Presentations and Cupcake Competition


Yuval Hoffman for Wikimedia Commons

Golabki is a Polish dish that Dr. Chudinski shared during the Multicultural Food Fair.

“It’s time to get your baking stations ready!” In a flurry of action, the timer starts ticking and four contestants rush to reach for piping bags and frosting. Is this the latest baking episode on Food Network? Not quite, it’s the Cupcake Decorating Contest at the OHS Multicultural Food Fair.

As part of the virtual Pixel Festival on January 28, , OHS students and staff came together for the OHS Multicultural Food Fair hosted by the Pixel Chefs Club. Presenters shared with the audience some of their favorite dishes and the histories behind them. Dr. Vetter went first, sharing semlor and her grandfather’s love for the sweet wheat rolls filled with marzipan and whipped cream. Dr. Chudzinski was up next, and she introduced the audience to golabki, a Polish dish that means “little pigeons or doves,” made with ground meat, eggs, rice, and spices wrapped in cabbage leaves and topped with tomato sauce. She then moved to her love of deep dish pizza (armed with a beautiful collage of pizza pictures). Mr. Bennette then presented gumbo, and showed us the process behind cooking gumbo (don’t eat the canned stuff or he’ll find you and have a few words…) using  photos of the gumbo he had made for Christmas dinner. Then, 10th grader Dashmi Singh shared a delicious looking picture of a popular Punjabi dish called chicken biryani that is cooked by layering rice, spices, and pre-cooked meat repeatedly into a big clay pot closed off with dough. And last but not least, Dr. Zaurova gave a presentation on plov, a staple in Uzbekistan that she loves but was previously unsuccessful in recreating perfectly. However, during today’s food fest, Dr. Zaurova attempted the dish again with a recipe given to her by her cousin, giving us a live action account of plov’s history while it simmered in the background.  

After a slideshow of mouth watering pictures and stories, the cupcake decorating contest began. Vying for the prize of ultimate bragging rights, four contestants stepped up: history instructor Dr. Chudzinski, and 9th graders Adrianna Davies, Julie Werner, and Nivaaz Dhillon. Their judging panel consisted  of Dr. Vetter, Dr. Zaurova, and Ms. Bickart, who all expected innovative, creative, and inviting designs. The bakers also had an additional rule: everything they added on the cupcake had to be edible. With ten minutes on the clock, the OHSers-turned-pastry chefs took to their kitchens to decorate the perfect cupcake. By the end of the time, all the stops had been pulled. Dr. Chudzinski had created a funfetti cupcake with purple and pink petal shaped frosting, a line of fruit leading to a mini pixel mascot sitting at the end of the road. Juliana had created a vanilla cupcake topped with frosting, chocolate drizzle, and crushed candy canes. Adriana had gone all out, and even in the Texas heat, she created a cupcake with chocolate work: a candy melt topper that spelled out Red (Swifties unite!) and a chocolate guitar, embellished with red sugar and silver pearls. And Nivaaz created not one, but seven beautifully piped cupcakes, including a cupcake with a pixel drawn from red and black piped frosting at the center. 

When it came to deciding the winner of the contest, the judges couldn’t just pick one: all contestants had done so well it wasn’t possible to just pick one. It was announced that each contestant had won a separate award. Dr. Chudzinski had won the award for “Best Presentation” with her impressive decorations and set up for her cupcake, while Julie had bagged the “Sounds Tastiest” award with her crushed candy canes earning Ms. Bickart’s stamp of approval. Then, Nivaaz won “Most School Pride” for her amazingly piped pixel, and Adriana won “Most Resourceful” with her masterful use of candy melts and chocolate, triumphing over the Texas heat. 

Throughout the Food Fair, OHS’s diverse culture and innovative thinking was showcased by delicious recipes and expertly decorated cupcakes. If you’re interested in having or participating in more events like these in the future, or want to chat about cooking and food, join the Pixel Chefs Club!  For more info, you can contact co-leaders Dashmi Singh [live:dashmi or [email protected]] or Ilana Nguyen (co-leader) [live:ilananguyen or [email protected]].