Young chefs from around San Antonio got a chance to compete in the 2017 junior chef competition at Sam Houston High School on the east side. The event was organized by a Sam Houston alum who wanted to give back.
"It feels good to know that I have what it takes to join the competition," said 16-year-old Dwayne Harris, a Sam Houston High School senior.
After submitting video entries showing off their culinary skills, the young chefs made the cut to compete. After three months of coaching from a chef mentor from the area, Saturday was the big day.
"The main thing I do when I'm cooking is I have fun. When I cook, I try to find the funnest way to do it," said Harris, who added that cooking has focused his energy in a productive way and kept him away from negative influences in his neighborhood. "I've had friends who are gang members and stuff, but being here, especially in culinary, I've made new friends who are on the same path I am and they help me do better for myself."
Chef Mila WIlliams, a graduate from Sam Houston High School, organized the competition and says that he hopes to show kids from this part of town that they can dream big too.
"I remember growing up on the mean streets of the east side. Now I was not as bad as some of my peers, but I was one of the ones that had a vision," he said.
Harris says that he dreams of opening a chain of restaurants after graduating from culinary school.