KILLEEN (December 12, 2013)’ Aspiring young chefs at Central Texas College got a chance to compete for scholarships Thursday.
CTC hosted its third annual "Chopped" competition which mimics the Food Network show of the same name.
Two scholarships were up for grabs for the top two finishers.
The field of twelve students was narrowed to seven after the first round, which required students to prepare an appetizer.
Another cut was made after the entrée round, leaving just two students to compete in the dessert round.
Among the competitors were two high school students, who even managed to advance out of the appetizer round.
Tyler Lindley, one of the high school students, felt very positive before the first cuts were made after the first round.
He was nervous about his presentation but his spirits remained high.
He added, "It's a great experience and I'm actually learning what an in-kitchen experience is going to be like for my career."
Central Texas College hosts multiple cooking competitions for students each year, including one modeled after the popular “Iron Chef” reality show.
Being in the high-stress environment of the competitions helps students prepare for culinary careers after graduation.
Ramona Lezo, a culinary arts instructor for CTC said that many students go on to Austin and Dallas, and quickly climb the ranks to sous chef and even executive chef.
Lezo says that it's hard for students to be judged for their work, and this "gives them the ability to be able to go out into the world and to be judged at what they do."
Judges on a panel made of culinary instructors graded each dish between rounds based on presentation and taste, among other criteria.
After tasting, the points were tallied, and the lowest-scoring competitors were eliminated.
The winner received a $500 scholarship and the runner up a $300 scholarship.