Student Chefs Compete in Culinary Cook-Off - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Student Chefs Compete in Culinary Cook-Off

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WALLA WALLA, Wash.- Things got a little spicy at Walla Walla High School today. Three students were busy showing off their culinary talents in a cooking competition.

The vegetables are chopped the stoves heated and the game is on. Three High School students competing to be the top teen chef, but they'll have to impress a few professional judges including one famous chef.

"Basically what this program does is encourage high school students to look at culinary as a career," explained Celebrity Chef Maneet Chauhan who has appeared on the Food Network and shows like The View. She was on hand to taste and rate the students creations. "It is the encouragement that we get from our community, our teachers, our parents that makes us reach the heights that we do. So I'm hoping in a small way I can help in that."

With Professional Chefs watching the pressure was on, but the students acted like pros. Not even a single tear when cutting onions. For the youngest of the three this is life-changing stuff.

"I think it's just unbelievable," said Zachary Newby, a student chef. "I never thought I'd be able to do something like this and for me the competition is just being able to show people what I can do and practice and get better so that I can move up."

With only 40 minutes on the clock the students were racing to complete their dishes. Regardless of the outcome their teacher says she's proud of them and hopeful the culinary program will expand.

"I think that it can do nothing but grow," said Barbara Buttice, the Culinary Teacher at Walla Walla High School. "I think the industry is growing. The economy is getting better, people are eating out more and there's more opportunities."

All three students showed that they could handle the heat in the kitchen, but in the end Junior Ian Davidson won the competition. Davidson will get a brand new deluxe knife set and he'll get a chance to win a trip to Washington D.C to learn from a White House chef.