Monday, March 23, 2009

Hawaiian Teen Wins the OC Leg of the Best Teen Chef Competition

Christian Dortch from Leilehua High School won a $5,000 scholarship and a chance to compete in the national competition

On Saturday March 21, thirteen Southern California teens met in The Art Institute of California – Orange County kitchens to compete in the 2009 Best Teen Chef competition, but it was the student from Wahiawa that took first place.

Christian Dortch, a senior at Leilehua High School, kept his cool under the watchful eye of the four chef instructors judging the competition. His knife and cooking skills earned Dortch a $5,000 scholarship to The Art Institute and the chance to compete for a full-tuition scholarship in the national competition.

“After third place and second place were called, I was disappointed that I hadn’t even made the top three,” Dortch said, “but when my name was called, I felt all my hard work, long nights, plane tickets, missing school and baseball had finally paid off.”

Keng Chiu from Fountain Valley came in second and earned a $3,000 scholarship. Irvine student, Hiroki Uchida took third place and earned a $2,000 scholarship.

The Art Institute of Charlotte will host the 34 local winners from Art Institutes locations across North America the weekend of May 9. The winner also earns the chance to be “Intern for a Day” at the Food Network Kitchens in New York City.

The Art Institutes created the Best Teen Chef Competition in 2000 to encourage and recognize young culinary talent. Since The Art Institute of California – Orange County began participating in the competition in 2004, two local winners have gone on to win the title Best Teen Chef.

“I’m excited and honored that the judges selected me to represent The Art Institute of California – Orange County,” Dortch said. “I’m going to do my best, cook the way I know I can and give a 110%.”

For more information about the Best Teen Chef competition, visit or contact Veronica Orozco at or 714.830.0221.

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