They always start young. Joshua Christie says he remembers helping around the kitchen as a little kid, and that lifelong passion for cooking helped lead him to win the 9th Annual Le Cordon Bleu Future Chef of America Culinary Scholarship Competition on June 12th. Having attended Langham Creek High School in Harris County, he'll now be moving on to Le Cordon Blue College of Culinary Arts in Austin, along with the $10,000 first place prize.
Christie's winning dish consisted of a hearty potato soup with celery and carrots as the appetizer, and an entrée of Cajun spiced grilled chicken on a bed of Alfredo pasta. There was a pre-set list of ingredients and 90 tense minutes for the ten high school senior finalists competing in a live cook-off at the culinary college in Austin.
Though he was also accepted to several prestigious culinary schools, such as Johnson & Wales University and the Culinary Institute of America, Christie says he plans on staying closer to home, working on his cooking technique at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin. He wants to work during school as well, getting experience and honing his knife skills. But he also leaves room for the possibility of going to the University of Houston for their renowned Hotel and Restaurant Management Program. "It's a really good program, but I just don't know yet," he says. His first priority right now is "the cooking part of it, the basic foundations," he says.
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As for the future beyond school? Christie hopes to open his own restaurant one day, but he acknowledges that's still a ways off. First, he's looking forward to gaining valuable experience "on the line" during and after school. But true to his winning recipe, he sees himself maybe going with a Cajun restaurant, but isn't limiting the possibilities. "Cajun's great, but I also really like upbeat, Asian flavors," he says. Now that would make quite an interesting mix.