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Competitors at the Best Teen Chef in America Competition Cook Up Real Comfort Food

Image: teen chefs (ARA) - At this year's Art Institutes Best Teen Chef in America Competition, teens from around the country will try to dazzle a panel of master chefs, professional and celebrity judges, not by preparing fancy foie gras, but by cooking up roast chicken, potatoes and vegetables -- favorite comfort foods.

"Comfort food is really a misnomer," says Chef Joseph Shilling, Dean of Education at The Art Institute of New York City, which hosts this year's Best Teen Chef in America competition May 16 and17. "At this year's event, our high school competitors will be preparing a basic dish that many food experts believe is really the barometer of someone's cooking abilities - a roast chicken," he says.

A nationwide competition for high school students, the culinary scholarship competition, now in its fourth year, takes place in New York City on May 16 and 17. Students vie for $190,000 in scholarship funds, with the winning Best Teen Chef receiving a full scholarship to study culinary arts at the Art Institute of his or her choice.

This year, students will prepare a menu which includes dishes that many have grown up eating, including roast chicken with pan gravy, sautéed vegetable medley, and red potatoes. According to a panel discussion at the 2002 American Culinary Federation Convention, industry experts agree that comfort foods are more popular than ever.

"So many Americans are finding a feel of security by getting back to traditional sit-down meals. Families want to be close and we wanted to acknowledge that by having these students prepare a menu based on dishes that they might enjoy around their own dinner table," says Shilling.

For more information on how to enter The Best Teen Chef in America Culinary Scholarship Competition visit The Art Institutes Web site at or call (888) 328-7900.

Courtesy of ARA Content.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For more information, contact Jeffrey S. Durosko, The Art Institutes, at (412) 995-7232 or Barbara Vilanova at (412)242-0796.

The Art Institutes' system of 29 educational institutions is located throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary professionals. The Art Institutes' system of schools has provided career-oriented education programs for 40 years with more than 140,000 graduates. For more information visit The Art Institutes website at

Recipes from the Best Teen Chef in America Culinary Scholarship Competition

Roasted Chicken with Pan Gravy
yield: 2 servings
1 pound whole chicken
1/2 bunch rosemary
1/2 bunch thyme
1 bulb garlic
3 tablespoons paprika
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1/2 bunch parsley
1-cup Chicken stock
1/2-cup all-purpose flour
¼ pound butter, cold
2 ounces shitake mushrooms
1 cup white wine

Wash chicken. Dry with paper towels. Season the cavity of chicken. Truss chicken with butcher twine. Season the outside of chicken with rosemary, thyme, garlic and paprika. Roast whole chicken in 350 degree pre-heated oven. Reserve pan drippings to make the gravy. Remove the pan drippings from the pan by deglazing the pan with white wine. Reduce. Create a roux with flour and butter to thicken the chicken pan drippings into a thick sauce. Thicken pan gravy and add the mushrooms. Season gravy to taste.

Red Bliss Potatoes
yield: 2 servings
10 ounces red skin potatoes
1 ounce butter, melted
1/4 ounce parsley, chopped
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Chef's note: Potatoes can be served in your own style, either roasted, boiled or sautéed.

Wash, clean and dry potatoes. Cut potatoes into desired shapes. Heat sauté pan. Add butter and toss potatoes together. Move pan to a 37 degree oven. Roast potatoes until brown and cooked. Toss with parsley and adjust seasoning to taste.

Sautéed Green Beans and Carrot Medley
yield: 2 servings
1/2 ounce butter
2 ounces onion, finely chopped (1 small)
4 ounce green beans
3 ounce carrots (1 medium)
1/4 ounce parsley, chopped
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Wash, clean and dry green beans. Cut carrots into desired shapes. Blanch green beans and carrots in boiling water, then shock in an ice water bath to stop cooking. Reserve until needed. Heat sauté pan. Add butter and onion, sauté until tender. Add green beans and carrots, sauté until hot and tender. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Optional: add some chopped parsley if desired. Serve immediately.

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