Sean Collins, a senior at Westchester High School, was named “Best Teen Chef” on Saturday, March 11th, by The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles.
Collins won a $2,000 tuition scholarship to study culinary arts at The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles, which is located in Santa Monica.
He also gets an all-expense-paid trip to Fort Lauderdale to represent the campus in the national competition.
The national competition, in which Collins will compete against 22 other regional winners from around the U.S., will be held Saturday, April 29th.
National competition winners get a $200,000 tuition scholarship to study culinary arts at any North American Art Institute campus.
Collins won over six other high school seniors in the local competition in a timed cooking contest.
The students had to prepare a meal of shrimp cocktail, sautÈed breast of chicken chasseur, fresh broccoli, and rice pilaf.
“All of the students were fantastic and the scores were very close,” said chef Christophe Bernard, culinary director of the Art Institute of California-Los Angeles.
“Sean’s presentation was creative and his food was prepared properly. He also showed professionalism in the kitchen when handling food and cleaning up his area.”
Collins said he got his love for cooking from his uncle, Kevin Adikus, who is executive chef at Trump National Golf Club in Palos Verdes.
“I started working for him when I was 15 and continue to work there today,” Collins said. “I am also learning great things from Dominique Ranuly, sous-chef at The Regency Club, where I have been working for the past five months.”
Collins’s mother, Heather Collins, said she remembers that her son’s love of cooking started much earlier — at age three.
“When he was three years old, he would stand on a kitchen chair and make pancakes, and they were really good,” she said.
The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles offers degrees in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary arts.