Food Network Star comes to Walla Walla

Food Network Star comes to Walla Walla
WALLA WALLA, Wash. - Some WaHi High School students got a chance to compete in a teen version of Top Chef, when the Food Network rolled into Walla Walla. You might ask -- why Walla Walla? And Food Network star Maneet Chauhan says -- why not?

Brandon Williams was shocked when he heard Food Network was coming Walla Walla. The sophomore hopes to open up his own restaurant one day. He's been working at "The Marc" for the last year.

"I was really surprised me and my dad watch Chopped all the time," said Brandon Williams.

The high school has a culinary arts program. It selected three students from the class to compete.

"A lot of emotions going on, kind of crazy, but really exciting," said Williams.

The competition was set up similar to the show "Chopped." Students had 40-minutes to cook one entrée. They could cook whatever they wanted, as long as the ingredients cost less than 30 dollars. These teen contestants were graded on flavor, originality, and of course, taste.

"To me what is important is that they are competing, it is a brave thing for them to do, it's no as easy a thing to do," said Food Netowrk star Maneet Chauhan.

Food Network star Maneet Chauhan was the judge. She told me this is more than a competition. It's a doorway for future chefs to follow their dreams.

"I am hoping in a small way I can help guide them in the right direction," said Chauhan.

For students like Brandon, this is experience he could not have learned in a classroom.

"I think it's really important because it's going to get me out there in the world and further my career in culinary," said Williams.

And a constant reminder to judges and professionals like Maneet, who found herself impressed with Walla Walla and its up-and-coming chefs.

"It has super exceeded my expectations, it's one of those cities that just makes you happy," said Chauhan.

Walla Walla is just one of 17 stops for the crew. Today's winner was Ian Davidson. He made a dish with frog. The student we featured, Brandon Williams, presented a strawberry halibut dish. The third student created a meal with salmon. The winner has a chance to be selected for the grand prize, cooking with an executive chef from the White House Chef tour.