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    The Best Teen Chef Cook-Off attracted 12 participants at the International Culinary School at The Art Institue of California-Inland Empire

    Best Teen Chef Kevin Agra, cooking

    Winner Kevin Agra, second place winner Enrique Lucatero and third place winner Scott Nereim, with Culinary Director Eyad Joseph

    (SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) – This weekend, hundreds of high school seniors turned budding chefs took the first step toward launching what could be the beginning of their professional culinary careers.

    On Saturday, April 12, high school seniors from across the U.S. and Canada competed in Best Teen Chef Local Cook-off Competitions at participating The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes locations throughout North America including, The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire.

    The winner of The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire’s Best Teen Chef Local Cook-off Competition is Kevin Agra a senior at Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga.

    “It’s surreal,” Agra said a few days after he was named the winner. “I never expected to win. I went into the competition to have fun.”

    Agra said cooking has long been a passion of his, and even as a child loved to experiment in the kitchen. He continues these experiments today, cooking for family members whom he says are “my human guinea pigs.”

    Second place winner at the Art Institute of California-Inland Empire was Enrique Lucatero, a senior at San Bernardino High School. Third place went to Scott Nereim, a senior at Arlington High School in Riverside,

    The 31 Local Cook-off Competition winners will proceed to the Best Teen Chef Final Round Competition on Saturday, May 17, at The Art Institute of Las Vegas. Top prize winners in the Competition can win a full-tuition scholarship toward an associate’s degree, certificate or diploma program to study Culinary Arts at one of the more than 30 participating Art Institutes locations.

    In addition to a full-tuition scholarship and the title of Best Teen Chef 2008, the first place winner in the national competition, in partnership with Food Network, will be an “Intern for a Day” at the Food Network Kitchens in New York City. The winner will also receive a tour of the Food Network Studios, dinner for two at a Food Network chef’s restaurant and a library of Food Network Kitchens cookbooks.

    The Art Institutes created the Best Teen Chef competition in 2000 to encourage and recognize young culinary talent.

    “The interest in culinary arts among young people has literally soared in recent years, said Chef Eyad Joseph, culinary director at The International Culinary School at the Art Institute of the Inland Empire, “This is due to many factors, among them, working parents, the proliferation of cooking shows on television, and the desire to participate in family traditions.”

    For more information on the Best Teen Chef Competition, visit www.artinstitutes.edu/pr.aspx?ID=btc007 or contact The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire at (909) 915-2100 or www.artinstitutes.edu/inlandempire for additional information.

    The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire is one of The Art Institutes (www.artinstitutes.edu), a system of over 40 education institutions located throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals.

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