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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Senior creates recipe for success

Friday, May 6, 2011

Monett High School senior Dedre Beckett will be competing in Skills USA national competition in culinary arts on June 20. She recently received first place at the state competition in commercial baking and second place in the written competition. [Chuck Nickle Photography]
For most people, baking can be a chore, but for Monett High School senior Dedre Beckett, baking is an adventure, a challenge and her avenue to a creative career.

Beckett, a two-year culinary arts student at Southwest Area Career Center (SWACC) in Monett, recently won first place in culinary commercial baking at the Skills USA state competition held in Jefferson City. She also received second place in the commercial baking written competition.

As a result of her top performance, Beckett, who is the daughter of Dave and Donna Beckett, of Monett, will be competing in the national contest, which will be held June 20 in Kansas City.

The state baking competition consisted of eight different recipes to be completed in six hours while keeping the kitchen clean in the process. Beckett received 100 percent on keeping the kitchen clean.

At nationals, Beckett will be required to bake pumpkin bread, braided bread, loaf bread and knot rolls from one dough, rolled sugar cookies, puff pastry items (laminated dough), cinnamon rolls and coffee cake from sweet dough, pineapple pie and pie crust. She will also be asked to decorate a cake.

In the state competition, Beckett competed against 20 students. At nationals, she will face off against approximately 52 students.

Vickie Fuller, culinary arts instructor, has high praise for Beckett. This spring, Beckett received Outstanding Student of the Year award in culinary arts and she also earned a passport, which requires the student to be in the program for two years, not miss more than six days per year, have a B average and be recommended by the teacher. Beckett has also received two scholarships for her culinary skills.

According to Fuller, Beckett is the fifth culinary arts students from SWACC to qualify for nationals in Fuller's 11 years with the program.

Beckett said she has been baking since she was 10 years old.

"My mom made cheesecake from a box, and I asked her what a real cheesecake tasted like. So we went to a bookstore and got a cheesecake book and I found a recipe that I liked and that is what started it," said Beckett. "I started making cheesecakes and then picked up on cakes."

Beckett currently bakes cheesecakes for Mocha Jo's in Monett.

"I have my own recipe for cheesecake," said Beckett. "I have created this by utilizing a combination of recipes.

"I also created a cake called Uncle Tom's cake," explains Beckett. "My uncle, Tom Beckett, challenged me one time to bake him a cake with five different kinds of chocolate, so I went home and baked a cake with one layer of dark chocolate, one of white chocolate, one of milk chocolate, white chocolate ganache in the middle and iced with chocolate buttercreme."

Beckett also uses her cooking skills to cook meals at home.

"We go shopping for the meal ingredients, and during the week, by the time Dave and I get home, the evening meal is waiting for us," said Beckett's mom, Donna.

"Baking is my thing, and I want to make sure that it looks nice," said Dedre. "My future depends on how nationals go. If I do well, I will receive scholarships to just about anywhere I want to go, but I am looking into culinary schools. I want to be a professional baker and eventually open my own bakery."

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