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May 26, 2015


 Tre Lanier, Jeremy Brooks, & Cody Brooks

Anyone who’s ever eaten a meal prepared by the culinary arts students at the Newton College and Career Academy (NCCA) can tell you—those kids sure can cook! Throughout the course of a school year, these students prepare numerous meals and cater countless events at the school. They’re restaurant-style operation is probably one of the best kept secrets in Newton County—but not for long! Three of those talented young chefs put the NCCA Culinary Arts program on the map recently, when they walked off with third place honors at the 2015 FCCLA State Culinary Arts Competition!

Student chefs Tre Lanier, Jeremy Brooks, and Cody Brooks competed against more than a dozen culinary arts teams from across the state. Just like the show Master Chef, the students were required to create for the judges a mouthwatering meal consisting of sautéed breast of chicken with mustard cream sauce, fresh broccoli sauté, rice pilaf and eblekage—a Danish apple trifle. The students were not just judged on the quality of their meal—they were also assessed on their ability to execute excellent safety and sanitation procedures.

Despite the fact that this was their very first time competing in the State Competition, nerves apparently were not a factor. The NCCA trio breezed through the competition. In addition to their third place award, Tre, Jeremy, and Cody each earned a $500 scholarship to Johnson and Wales University and a $1,000 scholarship to The Culinary Institute of America.

Recent graduate Tre Lanier plans to make good use of his scholarship money by attending Johnson and Wales University.

“I want to own a restaurant and be able to somehow link my restaurant to fitness,” said Lanier. “I want to make it a place to work out and eat good and healthy at the same time.”

Lanier added that he prefers grilling but definitely wants to learn more about all types of cooking.

Although graduating senior Jeremy Brooks does have his sights set on a career in the culinary arts, he doesn’t plan on using the two scholarships he earned at the competition. Instead, he plans on enrolling in culinary arts classes at Southern Crescent Technical Institute.

“I love the rush I get when I’m cooking and it is busy,” said Jeremy. “I like hearing compliments on my food especially when people say it is the best they’ve had. I want to work my way up in the culinary industry and become a manager. I would like to become a private chef or own my own restaurant.”

According to Jeremy, his father is the one who originally encouraged him to cook. Apparently the apple didn’t fall far in this family as not one but two Brooks’ family members got bitten by the cooking bug.

“I grew up baking with my grand-pa and I have always enjoyed it,” added Cody Brooks, Jeremy’s cousin. “It’s just the Brooks’ thing. Everyone in my family is a good cook and they all inspire me to cook.”

With two years left to go in high school, Cody hasn’t settled in on a career path just yet, although he said that cooking is definitely a possibility. He’s considered owning his own restaurant in the future. 

While Jeremy prefers grilling and smoking, Cody admits that his passion is baking.

With their passion for cooking combined with their ability in the kitchen, NCCA Culinary Arts instructor Chef Quinlan said he had no doubt his three student chefs would be successful.

“I was not surprised at all by how well we did in our first State competition,” said Chef Quinlan. “The team's ability to execute at such a high level was apparent at every practice I attended. It was truly an honor to advise such determined and focused future culinarians.”

For more information, contact Ms. Sherri Davis-Viniard, Director of Public Relations for Newton County School System at