The American Culinary Federation has named Michelle Stephenson—a Utah Valley University student—its 2016 Western Region Student Chef of the Year.
The award recognizes an up-and-coming student who possesses a high degree of professionalism, culinary skill and passion for cooking. Stephenson took home the gold medal—and highest overall score—for preparing two portions of a main dish that incorporated chicken in fewer than two hours, according to a release.
She prepared the dish for a panel of judges at ACF’s regional competition in Reno, Nev., on Feb. 6, and will advance to the federation’s national competition, held in July in Phoenix.
“I want to thank all of the chefs at Utah Valley University,” Stephenson said in a statement. “[The] work never ends. I will put my heart and soul into preparing for the national competition, so that in the end, it is a reflection of who I am and what I have striven to achieve.”