The Payson High School (PHS) Culinary Arts group brought home impressive awards over the March spring break, including thousands of dollars in scholarships.
Autumn Parrish, from Tonto Basin, earned a two-year Baking and Pastry Associates Degree scholarship totaling $32,000 by competing in the Careers Through Culinary Arts Program. She not only cooked, but also wrote about her dreams for a career in the culinary world, collected letters of recommendation and filled out an application.
At the same competition, Parrish’s sister, Levii Lopez, earned a one-year Culinary Certificate and a scholarship valued at $19,000.
The girls’ family is ecstatic that both will be able to attend the same school together — Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale.
As an added surprise, Rececca Karoliussen, a foreign exchange student from Norway, won a second-place award for creating a healthy recipe in the same competition.
Karoliussen received a basket of cooking supplies and $200. She also met former Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals football player John Fina.
The wins kept rolling in the next week with PHS Culinary students traveling to Tucson to compete in the Westin La Paloma Resort Spring Leadership Conference.
The PHS students took home seven gold, four silver, and 11 bronze medals.
Freshmen Mareena McKeen and Brittany Staub distinguished themselves with their presentations on dysfunctional families. The judges recognized them as national contenders.
Another foreign exchange student, Katja Lange, won first place for Cupcake Decorating and Rim Country local Emily Hoffman won a second place in the same contest.
Dahana Zermeno and Maria Ontiveros won gold medals for their presentations on abortion, and Cheyna Van Camp for her presentation on eating disorders.
Silver medals went to Dallas Walker for cupcake decorating, Victoria Van Camp in Creative Food Art, Jennifer Bailey in Mystery Basket, and Autumn Parrish in Knife Skills.
Bronze medals when to Stavi Astorga in Illustrated Talk, Katharina Meule (an exchange student from Germany) in Cupcake Decorating, Rebecca Karoliussen and Dallas Walker in Creative Food Art, and Levii Lopez in Knife Skills.
The Payson culinary delegation excited the Art Institute of Tucson chefs with their efforts in the Culinary Arts Team competition.
Nick Hatt, Kassandra Palmer, and Elizabeth Krigbaum advanced to the final heat of the event. In each heat, the culinary team was handed one of three menus they had practiced, then prepared it under time pressure. Everyone agreed it was one of the highlights of the competition.
“Payson should be proud of all their high school competitors,” said Devon Wells, director of the Culinary Arts program. “They are making names for themselves and our community. PHS Culinary rocks!”