Celebrity chefs judge cooking contest for area high school students at Walnut Hill College

May 10, 2017WHC News

On Saturday, May 6, six celebrity chefs served as judges during the annual Culinary Competition here at Walnut Hill College. The competitors, all top students from high schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, competed for scholarships to the College.

Imagine the excitement of the day: you are a high school student in a culinary course and have been practicing for months to compete in the popular scholarship competition. Now, six of the area’s most celebrated chefs are looking over your shoulder and tasting your dish while posing a few choice questions and, hopefully, selecting you for a much-treasured college scholarship.

Every year, two dozen of the best high school culinary students compete at Walnut Hill College for an advance in their culinary careers. Each student initially competed at their own high school, which earned them a spot in the College’s competition with the support of their families and teachers. Once in our kitchens, students were separated into two divisions, high school and vocational-technical school, and were tasked with putting their own spin on a chicken dish and presenting a plate that was delicious, eye-catching, and creative. Both divisions awarded scholarships to three winners in the amounts of $6,000, $3,000, and $1,800 to be used toward tuition at Walnut Hill College. The high school of the first-place winner in each division also received $500 for its Family and Consumer Science Department or Culinary Arts Program.

In the high school division, 1st place went to Tess H. of Rockville, MD, representing Thomas Sprigg Wootton High School, also in Rockville; 2nd place went to Qyideera P. of Philadelphia, PA, representing Frankford High School, also in Philadelphia; and 3rd place went to Queenie J. of Edgemoor, DE, representing Mount Pleasant High School in Wilmington, DE. And the vo-tech division awarded 1st place to Sierra W. of Harrisburg, PA, representing Dauphin County Technical School, also in Harrisburg; 2nd place to John M. of Williamstown, NJ, representing Gloucester County Institute of Technology in Deptford Township, NJ; and 3rd place to Renee S. of Bayville, NJ, representing Ocean County Vocational Technical School in Brick, NJ.

The celebrity chefs included Georges Perrier, founder of Le Bec-Fin, which was one of the top restaurants in the United States for 42 years; Walter Staib, TV host, cookbook author, and owner of The City Tavern; Asian celebrity chef Joseph Poon; Gerard  Caronello of the renowned La Bonne Auberge; Robert Parker, WHC alumnus and Executive Sous Chef at Brantwyn Estate at the DuPont Country Club; and Nunzio Patruno of the award-winning  Nunzio Ristorante Rustico. As an added bonus for the competitors’ family and friends, TV host and cookbook author Christina Pirello presented a special cooking demonstration.

Check out the competition photo album! And for more info on our competitions, scholarships, and other high school initiatives, please visit our High Schoolers page.