By KAREN GARDNER
The Frederick News-Post
FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — Garion Kukovich enjoys cooking just about
any type of food.
Garion, 18, was named The Art Institute of Washington’s Best
Teen Chef 2012 and received a $4,000 scholarship to the institute’s
International Culinary School.
Garion graduated earlier this week from Gov. Thomas Johnson High
School, and will be working at the Wine Kitchen in Frederick this
summer in food prep.
His goal is to become head chef at a restaurant. In the
meantime, he hopes to learn all he needs to achieve that goal.
“He’s always loved to cook,” said Garion’s mom, Lisa Kukovich.
“He’s amazing in the kitchen.” He has made dinners for friends
and co-workers of hers, and they have been impressed.
In his junior year of high school, Garion took food preparation
classes at Frederick Community College. He took one class each
semester, in addition to carrying a full load of high school
classes. The classes confirmed his desire to become a chef.
“I like how creative I can be,” Garion said. “I’m open to
Garion’s first restaurant job was at Waffle House, where he
greeted customers and poured coffee. He worked his way up to a job
at Volt, but he still was not involved in food preparation.
Eventually, Volt’s chef-owner, Bryan Voltaggio, invited Garion
to work in the food preparation area for unpaid experience.
There, Garion learned about chopping, cutting, making sauces and
adding herbs and spices. He also met Adam Harvey, who later became
chef at the Wine Kitchen.
Harvey recently offered Garion a job at the Wine Kitchen. Harvey
and the restaurant’s sous-chef are graduates of the International
For the competition, Garion prepared chicken with a creme-dijon
sauce, which he placed around the chicken.
The chicken was placed on a bed of rice pilaf, with pieces of
broccoli surrounding the rice. Each student had to work with the
chicken-broccoli-rice pilaf combination.
“I do consider cooking an art,” he said. He cooks by feel,
preferring to work without recipes. He is not a cookbook reader. He
prefers to try various combinations of ingredients. “I prefer to
use fresh ingredients as opposed to frozen or packaged,” he said.
Garion will start attending classes at the culinary school in
October, and the program will take 18 months to two years to
complete, Lisa Kukovich said. Garion will live at home in Spring
Ridge and take the MARC train and the Metro subway to reach the
school, which is located in Arlington, Va.
The Art Institute of Washington is a branch of the Art Institute
of Atlanta, and is one of more than 50 schools that teach design,
media arts, fashion and culinary arts.
Two other scholarships were awarded in the competition. Daniel
Smyth, of Bealeton, Va., was awarded the silver medal in the Best
Teen Chef 2012 competition, and received a $1,000 scholarship.
Keith Chappell, of Winchester, Va., was awarded the gold medal in
the culinary school’s Culinary Scholarship Competition, with a
$1,500 scholarship toward tuition at the culinary school.
Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post,
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)