LOCAL CHARLESTON CULINARY STUDENT WINS 10TH ANNIVERSARY S.PELLEGRINO® ALMOST FAMOUS CHEF® SOUTHEAST REGIONAL COMPETITION
Last night, Helen Hayes showcased her culinary talents taking home the winning title against some of the most talented culinary students in the region at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Atlanta. The judging panel, composed of chef judges - Chef Kevin Rathbun of Kevin Rathbun Steak, Chef Ford Fry of JCT Kitchen and Bar, Chef Gerry Klaskala of Aria, Chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene and media judges: Besha Rodell of Creative Loafing Atlanta, Valerie Hoff of 11 Alive News – WXIA-NBC, Chloe Morris of Chowdown Atlanta and Hope Philbrick, local Atlanta food writer. The panel awarded Hayes the coveted title and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete at the finals competition March 9-12 at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in Napa Valley, Calif.
Hayes from Culinary Institute of Charleston at Trident Technical College won the judges’ highest marks with her innovative signature dish recipe, Thai inspired halibut with sautéed shrimp and coconut rice. The fast-paced, high-pressure cooking competition included three other fellow culinary students representing The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Atlanta, Johnson & Wales University – Charlotte and Culinary Institute of Savannah at Savannah Technical Institute. The rigorous assessment and tasting from the judging panel took place during a tasting reception for local media, chefs and invited guests.
“I’m on cloud nine and ready to prepare for Finals,” said Hayes. “I’m a mom, jumped in this competition last minute, practiced nine out of the ten days leading up to it and just wanted to show my kids that you can take any route and make it.”
In celebration of its 10th year, Hayes will join the nine past winners of the S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition during the three-day finals event. Past winners and the esteemed judging panel will mentor Hayes and the other regional finalists throughout the three days of fierce competition. All finals competitors will be evaluated in three competition categories: the Mystery Basket, Signature Dish and People’s Choice.
The intense weekend will culminate with the announcement of the 2012 S.Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef. The event will be broadcast live via the Almost Famous Chef Competition Facebook fan page, where viewers can vote for their favorite competitor and ask questions of the celebrity chef panel as they watch all the excitement unfold. The overall winner will take the title, up to $22,000 in prizes and a career-changing apprenticeship with a master chef.
For more information on the S.Pellegrino brand and the competition, visit www.almostfamouschef.com.