In January at The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles, The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California – Los Angeles student Apilada Sani showcased her culinary talents to take home the winning spot against some of the best culinary students in the region. Assembled celebrity judges Chef Piero Selvaggio of Valentino, Chef David Bolosan of Pasta Pomodoro, Chef Evan Funke of Rustic Canyon Wine Bar & Seasonal Kitchen, Chef Rob Wilson of Restaurant 162 at The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, Carole Dixon of USA Today and InStyle, Carrie Kommers of dineLA, and Lori Corbin of KABC-TV (ABC) awarded Apilada the coveted title and the rare chance to compete at the Finals Competition to be held at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, in Napa Valley, Calif., March 5-8, 2010.
During the three-day finals, Apilada will compete against 10 other regional winners from across the United States, Canada, and for the first time in the contest history, a top culinary student from Italy, in front of a panel of food media, distinguished guests and renowned chefs. The overall winner will take the title, up to $20,000 in prizes and a paid apprenticeship from one of the participating chef judges. Last year’s winner, David Awad, is currently working at Michael White’s Alto in NYC, which just received a Michelin Star.
This year will also be the first time that the competition will be streamed live via the Almost Famous Chef website and Facebook, so fans can interact with each other and with Fabio Viviani of Top Chef fame, the live streaming host. The finals competition as well as the Las Vegas regional will be featured in the live streaming events. From now and throughout the competition, Facebook fans and Twitter followers receive updates and insider information like interviews with past competitors and with celebrity chefs involved in the program. These updates to the competition allow fans a unique perspective on what it takes to be a chef – from culinary school to a restaurant’s kitchen.
“This competition was one of my biggest accomplishments of my life,” said Apilada. “From the excitement and fast pace in the kitchen to presenting my dish to the judges, the entire experience was a thrill.”