After winning the silver medal at the American Culinary Federation tryouts for the youth Olympic team, Joliet Junior College student Kristyn Chatlosh received the third highest score in the competition, landing a spot on Team USA 2016. She received the honor after competing against 11 other students from across the country.
Now, Chatlosh, of Frankfort, and her seven teammates will prepare for the culinary youth Olympics, taking place in Erfurt, Germany, in September 2016.
“I was so happy that I finally knew that I made the team, because I spent a year prepping. I was so excited,” Chatlosh said. “And I didn’t expect to get the third highest score.”
Although she practiced almost every day at JJC, Chatlosh said she continuously ran into bad luck before and during the competition. First, she was supposed to get the package of beef she’d be working with a week in advance, but she didn’t. Then, the competition times were thrown off because there weren’t as many kitchens as was expected. She was called in 20 minutes early, before her rescheduled time, and she was the only one working in the room, which made her feel like the judges were eyeing her. To top it off, as she worked, the oven malfunctioned.
All this stress caused her to go over on her time by six minutes – which meant a three-point deduction from her final score.
“I came out of the kitchen feeling really defeated, actually, because I went six minutes over,” Chatlosh said. “But during the critique, judge Walker said that it was worth every minute because my food was worth it. And the judges could not say enough about my food. All three judges cleaned their plates, and ate all the leftovers. I felt good because they had to eat six other people’s plates that day. So, I came out of the critique feeling a lot better.”
Chatlosh’s menu consisted of herb-marinated flat iron steak; a beef stew filled potato with cheese streusel; warm corn cream; fresh corn and kohlradi sauté, broccolini; pickled cherry tomatoes; roasted onion and horseradish foam; and madeira wine sauce.
Chatlosh will meet with the team and coach Chef J. Kevin Walker, of North Carolina, in practices once or twice a month at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Five of the young chefs on the team will get to compete, and three will be alternates.
The Culinary Olympics won’t be televised nationally, but the results will be updated at www.acfchefs.org.
Chatlosh said she would not have made the team without the help of her mentor, JJC Chef Tim Bucci. Bucci was on the professional ACF Olympic team in 2012, and Chatlosh said she has learned a lot from hearing about his experiences.
“Being able to train under Chef Bucci has been a huge help. All of the JJC chefs have supported me in several different ways, and without all of them, I couldn’t have gotten this far,” she said. “We have so many award-winning chefs at JJC. You can’t beat getting to train with them and learn from them. Every chef will put in just as much effort as you will, and it makes all the difference.”
For more information about JJC’s Culinary Arts program, visit www.jjc.edu/academics/divisions/career-technical/culinary-arts/Pages/default.aspx.