Grayson College CWL Alumna One Of Top 12 Student Chefs In U.S.
It began just five years ago. Sarah Dilling attended the Grayson College Summer Youth Programs’ Cooking Camp and fell in love with cooking. Today at age 19, Sarah has earned the Bronze Medal in the American Culinary Federation’s Student Chef of the Year Central Region competition held on March 31 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
And the competition was no joke.
Sarah had an hour to prepare a meal using one key ingredient- arctic char. Sounds manageable until you throw in there that she had to butcher and fillet the whole arctic char herself. The meal that this Hendricks, Oklahoma native created sounds like one Top Chef contestants would describe. It was seared arctic char with crispy skin on a apple, cauliflower, and potato puree, edamame succotash, and sauteed carrots and haricot verts. To show her range of skills in preparing the arctic char there was an arctic char croquette with a remoulade sauce adorning a portion of the plate garnished with a chimichurri style herb sauce. Hungry? Me too.
How does a 19 year old develop such an interest and talent in cooking? Well, for Sarah the culinary spark was ignited at age 14 with a Grayson College Summer Youth Program Cooking Camp. Sarah describes it as “…a huge opportunity,” and says she has “…no idea where [she’d] be today without that camp.”
Sarah wasn’t a total novice to the culinary arts when she attended the youth camp. She and her mother smoked their own meats in their smokehouse, and they brewed beer too. The camp, though, put Sarah on a path of opportunity and success. After camp and as a 15 year old Sarah enrolled in the Culinary Arts’ Safety and Sanitation course. Sarah took advantage of the flexibility that enrollment through the Center for Workplace Learning (CWL) offers. Getting started on her career path through the CWL simplified the process and allowed her to continue exploring her interest in all things culinary.
With that first class she earned a Food Manager Certification, but her next class, Basic Food Preparation, really hooked Sarah. She learned the versatility of basic techniques and how easily one recipe could be transformed into another for an entirely different result.
Sarah gives a lot of credit to Grayson College’s Chef Joanna Bryant, who has mentored and advocated for her along the way. Chef Bryant got Sarah involved in the American Culinary Federation, and it was Chef Bryant that nominated Sarah for the Student Chef of the Year competition. Chef Bryant also helped Sarah prepare for the competition. She and Sarah worked together on composing practice plates and refining Sarah’s approach and techniques to give her an edge. No surprise, Chef Bryant was named the Student Chef Educator of the Year by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) for the Central Region herself.
Though Sarah earned her Associate of Arts degree in Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management in May 2018 at Grayson College, her ties to Grayson College and Chef Bryant are strong. Sarah was encouraged in her Student Chef of the Year competition by the entire Grayson College Culinary Team, a team she was once part of as a Grayson College student. Sarah has moved on Oklahoma State University in pursuit of a Hospitality Management and Entrepreneurship double major. She dreams of opening her own gastropub one day.
Pursue your purpose and passion at Grayson College. Let us help you find a place to connect, commit and complete. You may end up just like Sarah- recognized for your talents and hard work doing something you love! Congratulations to Sarah and best wishes for continued success!
The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) has awarded two individual grants: a $1,194,889 Skills Development Fund grant to Grayson College in partnership with Fisher Controls International LLC, GlobiTech Inc., Presco Polymers L.P., Renlita Custom Opening Solutions and Tyson Fresh Meats Inc. and a $100,000 High Demand Jobs Training (HDJT) grant to Workforce Solutions Texoma. These grants will benefit workers in […]
It began just five years ago. Sarah Dilling attended the Grayson College Summer Youth Programs’ Cooking Camp and fell in love with cooking. Today at age 19, Sarah has earned the Bronze Medal in the American Culinary Federation’s Student Chef of the Year Central Region competition held on March 31 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And the competition was no joke. […]