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19 NYC High School Students Cook For Scholarships

Students compete for scholarships to culinary schools at the Institute Of Culinary Education in Chelsea on April 12, 2011 (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

Students compete for scholarships to culinary schools at the Institute Of Culinary Education in Chelsea on April 12, 2011 (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Competitors on “Top Chef” and “The Next Food Network Star” battle for fame and prizes.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports: The Pressure Is On


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A dish prepared by a student competing for a culinary school scholarship in Chelsea on April 12, 2011 (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

The stakes are just as high for 19 New York City high school students in a cooking challenge in Chelsea Tuesday. The students are competing for $500,000 in scholarships to some of the country’s best culinary schools.

Careers Through Culinary Arts Program started the contest in 1990 in New York. It’s expanded to seven locations including Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia.

Tuesday’s competition started with a frenzy of potato peeling and batter whisking. They’re given two hours to prepare a classic French chicken dish and dessert crepes.

The competition is fierce. A teen chef from Queens tried to set herself apart by turning her strawberry-chocolate crepes into a butterfly.

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A dish prepared by a student competing for a culinary school scholarship in Chelsea on April 12, 2011 (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

The judges include graduates of the program who’ve gone on to restaurant careers. The judges said they are looking at presentation, attention to detail and flavor.

“I can see right away there’s one natural,” Chef Joey Fortunato, of Extra Virgin Restaurant in the West Village, said. “…Confidence and just the way they move. Cooking is kind of, it might sound weird, it’s like an athletic thing and you have to have the right motions.”

Once the cooking phase is completed, interviews will also be conducted. Winners will be named on April 29.

Sadly, one contestant was missing Tuesday. Adrian Gonzalez was struck by a train on April 1 at the Union Square subway station as he ran to catch a train. He was a student at Marta Valle High School and interned at Tom Colicchio’s restaurant.