COLUMBIA — Will Kinney, a 2012 graduate of Rock Bridge High School, won first place in the culinary arts competition at the SkillsUSA Championships for high school students.
The competition took place June 23-27 at the H. Roe Bartle Hall in Kansas City. Kinney won the culinary arts competition at the 48th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference.
He competed with students from all over the country, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. The first-place finish earned Kinney full tuition scholarship offers from top culinary schools. He will study hotel administration at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., next fall. He also will participate in a collaborative degree program with the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y.
The competition featured both hot and cold food preparation, and scores were determined based on knife skills, cooking technique, sanitation and food safety techniques, organization, presentation and the quality and flavor of prepared items.
Participants worked from one menu with standardized recipes. They were required to produce a four-course menu, with competition spanning a full day.
To prepare for the competition, Kinney trained for an entire year with chefs from the Columbia Area Career Center. The career center is now in its 15th year of operation, and Kinney is the second student to win the national championship since the culinary arts contest was started in Missouri in 2009.
Fellow Rock Bridge student Mallory Barnes earned fourth place in the commercial baking contest at SkillsUSA. The competition requires students to bake six products and demonstrate cake-decorating skills.