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Students vie for Restaurant Concept Champion
Michelle Navarro, with help from her sister Maria, featured fusion tacos at her Asian Persuasion booth at Thursday’s BE.Cuisine Restaurant Concept competition. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT/The Bulletin

Michelle Navarro grew up in an Hispanic household.

“When we go out to eat, we usually go for Asian food — pho,” said the student in the BE.Cuisine Academy at Manteca Unified’s BE.Tech Charter High School on Thursday.

She was among those in the running for the title of Restaurant Concept Champion.

The winner earns the prestigious Police Chief Scholarship.

This third annual event — second time under the food booth format, according instructor Chef Andrew Griggs — was held in Gen7 Regional Environment Studies Center.

“Students not only developed but had a chance to pitch their restaurant ideas,” he said.

In all, 13 culinary booths operated by students served anything from rollup or breakfast sandwiches to chicken and waffles were on display for those to taste and judge — those in attendance, somewhere between 50 to 70, Griggs said, dropped a chip worth anything from one to five points at their favorite food choices.

Chicken and waffles, incidentally, were that of Tiayana McClyde, who whipped up a savory waffle mixed with chives and cheese. Chicken was the traditional battered or vegan options coupled with syrup. Or not.

“I came up with the name ‘Love’s Southern’ for my love of southern cooking,” McClyde said.

Omre Akkawi, Dillon Daniel and Andrew Moore came up with a special barbecue sauce recipe on their pulled pork sliders served on an Hawaiian roll with sautéed onions and pepper jack cheese.

“We oven roasted (the pork) for seven hours, using onion and garlic powder, paprika, medium chili powder and fennel seeds,” Moore said.

They called their sports-theme restaurant the ‘209 Grill.’

As for Navarro, who was helped out by her sister Maria, she called her fusion restaurant ‘Asian Persuasion.’

“Its Mexican food served up with Asian food — our two favorite choices,” said Michelle Navarro.

For that, she used an Asian spare rib recipe served up freshly made corn tortilla served up with onions for the fusion taco.

“It was fun seeing the faces of the people who tried it,” Navarro added. “They really liked it.”

To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail