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Three Local Finalists Determined at the June 23 Next Golden Chef Competition

On Saturday, June 23, sixteen promising culinary students competed in a cook-off at The Art Institute of California, a college of Argosy University, Orange County in hopes to become the Next Golden Chef and receive a $25,000 tuition scholarship. Student chefs Vincent Espinoza from Costa Mesa, Roshelle May from Mission Viejo and Francis Laureano from La Mirada placed as the three top finalists. The winner of the competition will be announced at the Golden Foodie Awards on September 30, 2012 at the Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach.

Competing students were asked to submit their favorite recipe and a written statement detailing why they desired to become the Next Golden Chef or a part of the culinary industry to be considered for the challenge. Sixteen students were selected to compete in the June 23 competition where they were tasked with cooking the recipe that they submitted in front of a panel of expert judges and a public audience. The competition was hosted by Fit Chef Katy from Food Network’s Food Network Star and judges included Susan Irby the Bikini Chef, Pascal Olhats, Owner of Pascal Restaurant and Brasserie Pascal, Founder of Wahoo’s Fish Taco, Wing Lam, Jason Quinn, Owner of Playground and The Lime Truck from Food Network’s Great Food Truck Race, Mareya Ibrahim, Edible Orange County and Daniel Mattos, Culinary Arts Academic Director from The Art Institute of California, Orange County.

"The caliber and talent of culinary students we saw today was incredible. What a great way to launch the season of Golden Foodie Awards events," commented Tricia Cook, Executive Vice President of Operations for the Golden Foodie Awards.

In the first round of competition, the sixteen student dishes were critiqued in four categories including taste and presentation, recipe selection, culinary skills, and on a short oral statement delivered. At the end of the first round, the three finalists were selected and then moved on to participate in the “Mystery Basket” competition where the students were provided with a selection of specific ingredients and tasked with creating a dish for the judges to review.

“Competing is a great learning experience for young chefs and all of the participants should be proud of their accomplishment,” said Danial Mattos, Culinary Arts Academic Director at The Art Institute of California, Orange County.  “The three semi-finalists selected showed precision with their technique and were creative with the ingredients thinking outside of the box.  But most of all they were ambitious and ‘just went for it’ putting their heart on the plate.”

The winner of the Next Golden Chef will be announced on September 30 at the Golden Foodie Awards at the Fairmont Hotel in Newport Beach and will earn the prestigious category title and receive a $25,000 scholarship to The Art Institute of California, Orange County.


Golden Foodie Awards extends gracious thanks to its 2012 sponsors including The Art Institute of California, Orange County, Fairmont – Newport Beach, Patron, Sub-Zero and Wolf, Splenda, Melissa’s, Orange Coast Magazine, SoCal PBS, Playlist Radio 92.7FM, OC Metro, Sadie Rose Bakery, Casey’s Cupcakes, SDCR & Aloha POS, The District at Tustin Legacy, Thunder Fish, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, La Crema, Nomad Communications, Edible Orange County, OC Foodies, Greer’s OC, Dining Out, Cabot Cheese, Kitchen Paddles, Mighty Leaf Tea, The ACE Agency, Code 4 Media Group, Dry Soda, Santa Monica Seafood, Hawaiian Springs, Jidori Chicken.