Breakfast of champions


Elad Gov-Ari

[heading]Omelet bake sale helps support culinary student, Giovanni Bartolacci, on his way to SkillsUSA national culinary competition[/heading] Confident yet humble, senior Giovanni Bartolacci will be the center of attention at the Saturday and Sunday morning omelet bake sales. As the state culinary champion, Bartolacci and the rest of the culinary class have been tirelessly working to prepare for this fundraiser in order to send the talented senior to the national SkillsUSA culinary arts competition later this year.
Chef Brook Harlan, the culinary director at the CACC, has watched Bartolacci develop over the years and believes Barolacci is more than deserving of the state championship, and is excited to see what he’ll do in nationals.
“We have won five [national competitions] out of the last six years,” Harlan said. ‘Naturally, it’s a lot of pressure on him, but he’s been doing a phenomenal job. It’s really a big deal at RBHS because not a lot of competitors in the country take [culinary] quite as seriously as we do. We also practice very hard and often.”
[box title=”Grab a Bite” box_color=”#2bb673″ title_color=”#000000″ radius=”9″]8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Columbia Farmers Market 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at Orr Street Farmers and Artisans Market[/box]Aside from the $150,000 scholarship offered to the champion, Bartolacci values the experience as how it will affect his future career goals. For this level of confidence, however, it meant that he had to practice more often and harder than his competitors.
Right now, I’ve been working really hard on the fundraisers instead of nationals,” Bartolacci said. “My idea is if I distract myself from the competition and allow myself to stress over these, I’ll be less stressed out about nationals when that time comes.”
For students such as sophomore Samuel Ventrillo, watching upperclassmen work so diligently toward success is more than just motivating.
“Working with Giovanni has been very educational and inspiring,” Ventrillo said. ‘He is very skilled and knowledgeable about so many things relating to culinary and working with him has given me lots of insight culinary-wise that has helped me to improve in my own abilities.”
Despite all of Bartolacci’s personal success, Harlan hopes that the fundraiser will be beneficial towards his competition and still be educational for the rest of the culinary students.
“Although [Giovanni] coordinates the events on his own, we have a lot of students coming in and helping him set everything up and prepare the food,” Harlan said. ‘I’ve really found that it’s not just about who wins the contest, it’s about getting students, mostly the underclassmen, to get in and get involved.”
The sale will take place Saturday from 8 a.m. till noon at the Columbia Farmers Markets, while Sunday’s will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Orr Street Farmers and Artisans Market. All the food will be handmade and baked with natural ingredients. Omelets start at $5 and will offer an array of additional ingredients.
“Right now I’m focusing on the fundraisers, as I don’t know what I’m cooking for nationals,” Bartolacci said. “I’ve been organizing everything for the past few weeks; recruiting kids, making lists and getting everything ready. I’m excited for tomorrow’s sale, and I’m ready for the competition. I’m trying to stay humble yet still work hard.”