Joliet Junior College culinary student Kristyn Chatlosh could be an Olympian come 2016.
The 20-year-old Frankfort resident tried out for the American Culinary Federation’s Youth Olympic Team USA on March 17 – and she passed with flying colors.
After creating a salmon and lobster cold platter, the judges gave her the second best score in the tryouts so far, and she was awarded a gold medal.
Now, she has to compete against ten other students from across the nation July 25-29 to land a spot on the five-person team.
“If I made the Olympic team, it would mean so much. I’ve come so far in the past nine months that I’ve been practicing for this, and it would just be huge for me,” Chatlosh said. “I’m finally doing something for myself, and it would be a big payoff for me if I made the team.”
During the tryout in March, Chatlosh spent a total of 19 hours in the kitchen preparing her dish, with only a two-hour break in between.
“The last hour I was kind of getting nervous, but I finished perfectly on time. I was tired at the end of this and really hungry because I hadn’t eaten all day,” Chatlosh said. “When I found out I got the gold medal, I started crying I was so happy, because I worked so hard for this.”
Before trying out, Chatlosh put in countless hours of practice. Her cold platter dish progressed and changed so much before she was ready to present to the judges.
Chatlosh first heard about the tryouts after attending the ACF National Championship with the JJC hot foods team as an apprentice in Los Vegas, Nev. last year, when the team brought home the gold medal. While she was there, she learned about the application process for the Olympic team. Chatlosh wrote an essay about why she wanted to be a chef and qualified for the tryout round.
Culinary arts has always been a big part of Chatlosh’s life. She grew up in the kitchen, spent a lot of time cooking with her mother, and her grandfather was a chef.
If Chatlosh earns a spot on the ACF Youth Olympic team, she will spend the next two years practicing at JJC. The 2016 ACF Olympics will take place in Erfurt, Germany on Oct. 22, and won’t be televised internationally, but the results will be updated online at www.acfchefs.org.
Chatlosh’s goals are always changing, but once she graduates from JJC, she can see herself working at a country club or cooking for parties.
JJC culinary instructor Paul Bringas said he has enjoyed watching Chatlosh’s talent grow since her first semester at JJC.
“She is a wonderful example to other students and very inspiring to me and the other chefs here at JJC,” he said. “She is the epitome of hard work and sacrifice.”
For more information about the Culinary Arts Department at JJC, visit http://www.jjc.edu/academics/divisions/career-technical/culinary-arts/Pages/default.aspx.