Local culinary students head to national competition with scholarships on the line

MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, OH (WOIO) - A local vocational school is in the spotlight. Students from the Chef Training program at Polaris Career Center will represent Ohio in a national culinary competition.

They're in the kitchen five days a week for at least three hours a day for hands-on training. From start to finish, they research recipes, create menus, whip up the delicacies, and then serve them.

Some of the students say the program has changed their lives.

"I really hated high school and this was my way out because I loved cooking and it, just like, caused my grades to increase, it caused me to be happier. I just love this program," said Therese Napier, a senior from North Olmsted High School.

For the eighth straight year, Polaris took top honors in the ProStart Invitational Competition. Besides the prestige of winning a national championship, there's also money on the table.

"The prize is a scholarship for the students and it's really what it's all about. We currently have two members on the team that placed first in the country, and they received a free ride from Sullivan University," said Chef Chris Olszewski, instructor for the Chef Training Program.

And so they're moving forward, one delicious dish at a time. The students compete April 2 through 30 in Charleston, South Carolina.

"It's just everything, we're teamwork, leadership, working with other people, the guests and then the basic skills of being a chef, so you know, pretty good, pretty good," said Chris Hritz, senior at Strongsville High School.

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