Aligning with the district’s core belief of continuous improvement, Duncanville ISD’s vision of a learner is a life-long student, never ceasing to seek knowledge. One way that students can continue to learn after high school is by attending a university, college, or trade school. One such institute of higher learning, the Art Institute of Dallas, shares the district’s vision on the importance of post-secondary education. They partnered with Duncanville ISD to host Iron Chef: North Texas Fall 2011, a competition aimed at introducing students to future professors. For this reason, we name The Art Institute of Dallas as the “Red and Blue – Is It In You?” recipient for November 2011.
Iron Chef: North Texas was started in the fall of 2010. A competition unlike any other in the area, it’s a high school take on the popular Iron Chef America. ”The school year is filled with several competitions that require the perfection of skills as students vie for a spot at nationals,” said event coordinator and Duncanville ISD Communications Specialist Tiffany Graber. “I wanted to provide a fun and creative start to the competition season, as well as the opportunity to practice.” The first annual event involved five teams and was held at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Dallas.
Partnering with the Art Institue of Dallas to host the second Iron Chef: North Texas on October 29, the Duncanville ISD event grew to include eight high schools from the Dallas/ Fort Worth metroplex. It also gained support from several big business names, including the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, Sysco, FreshPoint, Crystal Creek Cattle Company, Dexter-Russell, and Ettinger-Rosini and Associates. The success of this year’s competition was directly related to the support received from the Art Institute of Dallas. They not only provided a venue, but fed all participants and spectators, helped secure donations, and worked with Duncanville ISD to plan the event. “It was hard to organize, but well worth the effort,” commented Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Brenden Mesch. “Students, parents, and culinary instructors really seemed to enjoy the competition regardless of how they placed in the judging. Our instructors believe in supporting young culinarians because they represent the future of the foodservice industry.”
The Art Institute of Dallas doesn’t only support Duncanville ISD and the high schools competing in Iron Chef: North Texas – they also donate time, supplies, and services to several area organizations. “It is part of our culture to volunteer time and resources to those in need,” said Mesch. “Beyond the satisfaction that our faculty and staff receive, it is important to teach our students about social responsibility. We try to involve students in volunteer opportunities so that they can make close ties with their communities regardless of where they end up working.” A short list of organizational partners of the Art Institute of Dallas includes America Scores, the American Red Cross, Parkland Regional Burn Center, Friends of the Farmers Market, North Texas Food Bank, Union Gospel Mission, and Wild Mustang Horse Rescue.