Aspiring chef wins contest, scholarship

Mar. 13, 2013 @ 05:24 AM

Seven aspiring chefs with a craving for culinary put their kitchen skills to the test as they competed for tuition scholarships on Saturday, March 2, 2013, at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Charlotte, a campus of South University. At the end of the day, three finalists stood triumphant.

Warren Beidleman Jr. of Charlotte, a senior at Vanch High School, took a gold medal and first place, and Bray’Anna Reid of Midland, a senior at Central Cabarrus High School, took a silver medal and second in The Art Institutes Best Teen Chef Competition for high school seniors. Ryan Lonkey of Monroe placed first – and was awarded a gold medal – in The Art Institutes Culinary Scholarship Competition.

During the cook-off competition, the finalists were asked to showcase their talent and skill by preparing and serving a two-course meal in just two hours. The meal consisted of an appetizer of Shrimp Cocktail and an entrée of Sautéed Chicken Breast with Creative Garnish, Rice Pilaf and Broccoli Sauté.

Competitors were judged on five technical skills including knife skills, safety, sanitation, organization, cooking techniques, and clean-up, and five qualities of the finished dishes – temperature, taste, texture, portion size and presentation.

Beidleman earned a $4,000 tuition scholarship, Reid a $1,000 tuition scholarship and Lonkey a $1,500 tuition scholarship to The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Charlotte.

“Despite the stiff competition, our winners this year truly stood out,” said Chef Mark Martin, Culinary Director at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Charlotte. “Their passion and enthusiasm for the culinary arts is inspiring and we look forward to developing their talent in our culinary education programs.”

Warren Beidleman, Jr. learned to cook by watching the Food Network. His favorite food to prepare is pasta, and one day he hopes to become a master chef. When not in the kitchen, Warren enjoys playing basketball and video games.

Bray’Anna Reid began cooking when she was diagnosed with kidney failure and put on a special diet. She got the culinary bug from her aunt and uncle and one day aspires to open her own restaurant.

Ryan Lonkey, whose favorite dish to prepare is spaghetti and meatballs with homemade sauce, starting cooking at age 11 when he learned Irish and Italian dishes from his mother and Boss Gerry.

Cook-off competitions were held at all participating International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes locations across the U.S. and Canada in March. In addition to earning their scholarship awards, all local Best Teen Chef first place winners will have the opportunity to win a trip to New York City for a very special food experience. National judges will evaluate the materials they submitted to enter the competition and select one national winner.