Lamar County culinary team heading to state competition

Smokin’ Hot, the Lamar County School District culinary team from Oak Grove High School, recently won its regional Savor the Flavor of Mississippi Jr. Chef competition and will compete against other regional winners in January’s state competition.

Dishes prepared by the teams had to meet National School Lunch Program menu guidelines and contain at least two Mississippi goods from state farmers. The Oak Grove team used chicken donated by Sanderson Farms in Laurel, honey donated by Dixie Bee Honey Bee Farm in Hattiesburg and peppers grown by the culinary arts students themselves.

The Smokin’ Hot team includes Aleiya Luenig-McGee, Vikayla Oatis, Bethanie Pheal, Donovan Reid and Briah Hargrove (alternate).      

The central Mississippi regional competition, sponsored by the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Child Nutrition, includes Hattiesburg Public School District, Jones County School District, Rankin County School District, Vicksburg-Warren School District, Wayne County School District and LCSD.

The state competition will be held Jan. 23-24.

From left to right: Oak Grove High School culinary arts teacher Debbie Miller, Bethanie Pheal, Donovan Reid, Vikayla Oatis, Aleiyah Luenig-McGee and Briah Hargrove

From left to right: Lamar County School District Superintendent Tess Smith, Sumrall High School culinary arts instructor Tricia Griffin, Oak Grove High School culinary arts teacher Debbie Miller, and OGHS Assistant Principal Larry Ainsworth


Connections is the magazine for K-12 career and technical education (CTE) in Mississippi. The biannual publication features students, educators, schools, and organizations from approximately 50 career pathways across 16 career clusters. This Mississippi Department of Education publication is produced by the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University. Issues are disseminated in print and electronic forms in May and December each year.

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