After beating out ten competitors at the local cook-off competition at The Art Institute of Atlanta, South Forsyth High School Senior Harrison Parish took on more than 35 top teen chefs from all over North America at the national Best Teen Chef Final Round Competition on Saturday, May 15, at The Art Institute of Houston. His calm under pressure and outstanding culinary skills earned him third place and a bronze medal at the end of the day.
As third-place winner of the national competition, Harrison receives a scholarship for one quarter of his total tuition to The Art Institute of Atlanta. This will be awarded in addition to the $15,000 scholarship he won by placing first in the local competition. Harrison is planning to earn his B.S. in Culinary Arts Management; the total value of his scholarship is approximately $37,000. He will start classes fall quarter 2010.
For the national competition, Harrison was required to create an original two-course menu from a preset list of available ingredients. Two portions of each dish had to be cooked and served in under two hours.
Harrison describes his menu this way. "The menu I created was a chicken breast stuffed under the skin with a chicken force meat flavored with parsley and thyme. I served it with a sweet potato gnocchi, a creamy tomato mushroom sauce, and roasted corn, red peppers, onions, and spinach. I also made a dessert, which was a dried ginger meringue with a grapefruit curd and a fresh citrus salad of grapefruit and orange segments garnished with mint."
Harrison Parish was born in Hickory (NC), nine months after his parents moved to the United States from England. His mother Caroline is from the Midlands and his dad Gary is from Nottingham. He is one of four children; he has a younger brother and two older sisters.
Harrison has been cooking at home since he was a child, learning to cook from his “mum,” so it was definitely cooking with a British accent. Not surprisingly, his favorite dish to prepare is curry – all kinds of curry! One of his favorites is chicken curry with yogurt and cream. When he entered 9th grade at South Forsyth High School, however, and saw a professional kitchen, he knew cooking was what he wanted to do professionally.
At South Forsyth, culinary has been his passion. Beginning with the 10th grade, Harrison has studied with Dawn Martin and Chef Malcolm Orser. Ms. Martin has been very involved and encouraging, and has been a tremendous influence, he says.
Culinary is definitely Harrison’s primary interest. His part-time job is at Dutch Monkey Doughnuts, a gourmet doughnut shop in Cumming. He has competed in at least a half dozen culinary competitions, both individually and as part of a team, and found he really enjoys them. He says that when he has competed in the past, he favors French and Italian cuisine because of the flavors and presentation. In his last competition before Best Teen Chef, Harrison presented a dark chocolate mousse with a passion fruit cream center, which he says he “fell in love with.”
Outside the kitchen, Harrison is a sci-fi movie fan, and his musical taste runs from classical to Nine Inch Nails and System of a Down. But he doesn’t have much time for TV or just hanging around, he says. He’s too busy cooking! His goal after completing his education is to own his own restaurant – either fine dining or an upscale café.
About The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes
The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes is North America’s largest system of culinary programs offered at more than 30 Art Institutes schools.
Based on classical Escoffier, Asian, and Latin culinary techniques, with an emphasis on progressive trends and practices, the schools’ curriculum is designed to develop and sharpen fundamental cooking techniques and professional skills and introduce a variety of international cuisines. Internships, student-run school restaurants, guest lectures, and Web-based seminars, and study abroad programs help broaden the scope of learning for students.
Program offerings vary at each school. Prospective students should check the course offerings at The Art Institutes school they are interested in attending before enrolling. To learn more about The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes, visit www.artinstitutes.edu/culinary or www.exploreculinary.com.
The culinary programs at The Art Institute of Atlanta are accredited by the American Culinary Federation Foundation, Inc., Accrediting Commission: Associate in Arts degree in Culinary Arts and the Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary Arts Management.
About The Art Institute of Atlanta
The Art Institute of Atlanta (Atlanta campus) is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The Art Institute of Atlanta, including its branch campuses — The Art Institute of Atlanta – Decatur, The Art Institute of Charleston, The Art Institute of Tennessee – Nashville, The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, The Art Institute of Washington, and The Art Institute of Washington – Northern Virginia — is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404.679.4500 for questions about the accreditation of The Art Institute of Atlanta. The Art Institute of Atlanta (www.artinstitutes.edu/atlanta) is one of The Art Institutes (www.artinstitutes.edu), a system of more than 45 educational institutions throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion, and culinary arts professionals.