Melissa Schulz, Parent, Sweeney High School FFA BBQ Team Student
My daughter and her team represented their high school 2 years ago with the first year Texas High School BBQ competition. Her team won the Texas State Championship in Burnet, TX that year where Mike Erickson’s school hosted the State Competition. This win opened a door for them to be invited to The World Food Championship in Orange Beach, AL later that year. In addition to being the only high school to ever be invited to the event to BBQ, they were also asked to select a team member to compete in an additional competition…..Teen Green Challenge.
My daughter was selected to represent her team at this World Competition against teens from all over the US. Having never competed individually in a cooking challenge the pressure to represent her school was fierce.
We were put into contact with Mike Erickson with the hopes he could give some tips, tricks of culinary competitions. Him being the Burnet High School Culinary teacher and the founder of the Texas High School BBQ Competitions, we were thrilled to get his expert advice! We contacted him by phone and had a wonderful conversation about menu ideas and what a judge would potentially look for. He followed up with her frequently over the next few weeks to check on her progress. He then offered to come to our house before the competition to finalize her process and plating suggestions. A 5 hour drive on a Sunday, this man took out of his time to come help a girl from the school that won state at HIS high school! This just spoke volumes of his generosity and enthusiasm for teen culinary success. He spent the afternoon with her while she cooked her meal, he gave advise on plating, presentation, and how to really WOW the judges. My daughter went on to Orange Beach, AL where her and her team competed in a several day long BBQ competitions and competed in the individual challenge, and WON, The Teen Green Challenge with Mike Erickson there cheering her on.
I say without a doubt he is the reason for my daughters success at the individual competition. She continued over the next few years competing in High School BBQ watching the competitions double and triple every year. With his help over the past few years, the team was even featured on a national cooking show. We have watched the hard work and dedication Mike Erickson has put into everything he is a part of and are very appreciative to have met him.