Culinary student wins over $100k in scholarships

The ability to cook does not mean the result is going to be a culinary masterpiece. For most teenagers, the skill of pouring milk onto cereal or microwaving a Hot Pocket is the pinnacle of their culinary expertise.

However, senior Kristen Kuehn’s ability to sculpt a meal has turned into a college scholarship opportunity for the record books.
The scholarship she won will pay for her attendance to any of the Johnson & Wales’ colleges around the state and amounts to $144,000 (right now), and will change to match tuition if it increases.

She earned $108,624.00 for a full bachelor’s degree scholarship which will pay for tuition to Johnson and Wales University, and $9,000 a year from the college for her 4.4 GPA, participating in FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) and for Angela Stutz using their textbook in her class.She plans to attend the Denver campus for her associate’s degree then later transfer to the Providence campus for her bachelor’s degree.

“It was by chance in a way,” Kuehn explained, “because I wanted to make brownies for my mom but we didn’t have any of the box mixes so I looked online for a recipe to make it from scratch and then started making a ton of things from there.”
All of her cooking started with missing a box of brownies the summer before junior year. Once she cooked the brownies she was in love with cooking and fascinated herself with it.

“She was constantly making goodies. She made 150 truffles, 100 cookies, and 200 cupcakes for her sister’s wedding reception, all in a few days,” Barbara Kuehn, her mother explained.
Kristen would cook anything to practice without thinking twice about the challenge, such as wedding preparations that usually take a professional chef to prepare. Cooking became a pastime for her and a favorite hobby. She also earned a job at Caketini and gave her a professional work environment to develop even more skills to display in competitions.

“I kind of got started around junior year just at home, then I switched to Perry because of the culinary program,” Kuehn said.
She transferred from Gilbert to PHS because she felt that Stutz’s program would be best to further develop her skills.

“Kristen has been training with me since November,” Stutz said, “and competed against 120 Arizona Culinary students in two cooking events over the past two months.”

In her competitions, she cooked against 29 others from around the state. Kuehn had only 30 minutes to prepare a tomoato, cucumber and bell pepper salad and French Omelet.

She also prepared Hunter’s Chicken, which consists of turned, sauteed potatoes and a Chasseur Sauce, as well as Crepes Sucrees with pastry cream and chocolate sauce.

“I will probably have to start off working under other chefs before i open my [pastry bakery],” Kuehn explained.

Kuehn hopes to continue her work in the culinary field after attending Johnson and Wales but right now college is her main focus. After college she wants to open her own pastry bakery in Arizona after working her way up the ladder.