Roseburg High student excels at culinary competition
ROSEBURG, Ore. -- When 18-year-old Zachary Shilts signed up for a cooking class his freshman year, he didn't know exactly where it would take him.
But earlier this month, he won third place in the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute's Oregon Coast Invitational.
"I looked at some of the other plates and I was like, well, I can make top five," Shilts said, "but then, when they called my name for third, it was pretty exciting."
Shilts' chicken cordon blue recipe also earned him a $2,000 scholarship to culinary school.
He credits his culinary arts teacher for getting him there.
"The more he did it, the more I could see his interest peaking in that," said Roseburg High Arts Teacher Sheri Carson, "and he was good at it so he could see the instant success and felt good about that."
Carson says it isn't common for students to make a career out of cooking.
"In my 20 years, there's really just a handful that have really made a career out of it and have been extremely successful."
But Shilts has a recipe for his future and says hard work is the most important ingredient.
"A lot of dedication and work and having to win - that gave me a sense of drive to graduate and work harder."
Shilts plans to attend the Oregon Coast Culinary Institute after his senior year so he can continue roasting his competition.