Turk enjoys simple, efficient recipes

Turk enjoys simple, efficient recipes


Neshoba Central senior Leyton Turk said his favorite part of cooking simple and efficient recipes is how satisfying it is to finish his dish and watch people enjoy it. 

“Cooking uses all of my perception and I’m going by time, smell, and visuals,” Turk said. “I’m doing multiple things at one time so it takes all of my focus. Coming out with a finished product after all of that and watching everyone enjoy it, on top of me getting to eat it, it’s great.” 

Turk grew up in Philadelphia and is finishing up his senior year at Neshoba Central High School. He plans on attending college at Ole Miss this fall. 

Turk holds a 4.0 GPA, was voted 2022 Most Handsome at Neshoba Central, and “Most Likely to Have His Own Reality TV Show.” He is a member of Future Business Leaders of America, a part of the BETA Club, and was a part of Leadership Neshoba. On top of cooking, Turk is also working towards a pilot’s license. 

He first started cooking in high school after he had a fascination with body building but wasn’t eating the right foods. 

“I wanted to put on weight, but I was eating a lot of fast food and that wasn’t good for me,” Turk said. "I started learning how to cook things. My first real recipe I made was pasta from scratch with my uncle, and I realized if I could make pasta from scratch, I could make other things. I began developing my cooking and did things like barbecue and salmon on the grill, and I have a great duck recipe.” 

Turk has his own pasta maker and pizza over and is considered the designated cook for his family. He enjoys making food for his mother, brother, and grandmother, and planned to cook for her birthday party. 

“My favorite thing to make is my duck recipe,” he said. “It’s a basted duck, and with the leftovers I make a duck French onion soup. I don’t usually use recipes, but if I do, I try to add my own spin to it. I try to keep everything as simple as possible.” 

Turk said he is more of a savory person and doesn’t make any desserts. 

“The closest thing to a dessert is what I call a Mocha Monkey Smoothie,” he said. 


1 cedar plank

1 salmon fillet 

2 lemons 

Olive oil 

Lawary’s Seasoned Salt 

Crushed red pepper 

Dried parsley 

Cut a cedar plank to be slightly larger than your salmon fillet. Thinly slice one lemon. To prepare the salmon, add a light coating of olive oil to bind spices, then apply salt, dried pepper, and parsley generously to both sides of the salmon fillet. 

Take sliced lemon and apply it to one side of the salmon (if the salmon has skin). To cook the salmon, use a charcoal or gas grill. Place the salmon fillet on top of the cedar plank, then put plank on direct heat and allow the plank to catch fire. 

Allow the salmon time to develop a slight char along the edges. Once the salmon begins to develop color along the edges, move it to the indirect heat side of your grill and allow the salmon to smoke until it cooks to your desired wellness. Check the salmon every few minutes to ensure it does not burn. 


1 whole duck 

5 cloves of garlic 

2 lemons 



Balsamic vinegar 

4 whole onions (for the soup) 

To prepare the duck, begin by removing the giblets, then rise the duck. Score the breast side of the duck and generously coat in salt. Stuff 5 chopped cloves of garlic and 1 chopped lemon in the cavity of the duck. Tie the legs of the duck with a small piece of aluminum foil. Place the duck in a roasting pan above a roasting tray so the duck fat can drip down. 

Combine honey, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.

Roast the duck for a total of 3 hours at 350 degrees (1 hour breast side up and 40 minutes breast side down plus 40 minutes breast side up brushed with balsamic-lemon mixture plus 40 minutes breast side up brushed with the honey-balsamic mixture). The duck should come out a beautiful golden brown color.

After you have eaten the meat from the duck, take the leftover carcass and put it in a pot, adding enough water to cover it. Allow the carcass to boil for several hours until the water turns to a dark broth. Caramelize 4 chopped onions in a separate pan. Strain the broth and combine the caramelized onions. Boil for 15 minutes and allow and cool till the onions fully absorb the broth. Reheat and serve.



1 egg 

2 egg yolks

4 cups of rigatoni pasta 

Truffle Gouda cheese 

1 cup of bacon (diced) 

Black pepper

Olive oil 


In a pot, combine 6 cups of water, 4 cups of pasta, and 2 tablespoons of salt. Cook pasta until tender, and strain (save a small amount of pasta water for later). 

In a pan, brown 1 cup of bacon. Combine egg, yolks, grated cheese, and black pepper. Add strained pasta to the browned bacon, then add egg mixture. Add pasta water until the carbonara is creamy. Allow the ingredients to combine then serve with cheese to your liking.

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