(ORANGE COUNTY, CA) – High school students enrolled in culinary arts programs throughout Orange County competed in the inaugural Chef Challenge event at the Anaheim GardenWalk in October.

Twenty top culinary students were selected to serve as sous chefs, helping chefs from nine Anaheim GardenWalk restaurants prepare signature dishes for sampling. Event attendees casted votes for their favorite food items. McCormick & Schmick’s Grille won the top prize with their pan seared salmon with bourbon sauce.

The culinary show-down raised money and awareness for the county’s high school culinary arts programs. More than 1,600 Orange County students are enrolled in ProStart, a program to prepare young people for careers in culinary arts and hospitality management. Fieldtrips, job-readiness trainings, classroom speakers, and equipment are just a few of the enrichment services offered to ProStart classes by the California Restaurant Association Foundation (CRAF).

“We are thrilled to showcase the culinary talent of our Anaheim GardenWalk chefs. This is also a great way to mentor and support the next generation of restaurateurs and chefs,” commented Robin Weeks-Wynne, senior director of marketing and tourism for Anaheim GardenWalk.

Participating Restaurants:

  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
  • California Pizza Kitchen
  • Fire + Ice Grill + Bar
  • Grasslands Meat Market BBQ and Churrasco
  • House of Blues Anaheim
  • McCormick & Schmick’s Grille
  • McFadden’s Restaurant & Saloon
  • PF Chang’s
  • Roy’s Restaurant

​About the California Restaurant Association Foundation: 
California is home to more than 90,000 eating and drinking places that ring up more than $72 billion in sales and employ more than 1.6 million workers, making restaurants an indisputable driving force in the state’s economy. The California Restaurant Association Foundation is a non-profit that empowers and invests in California’s current and future restaurant workforce. Founded in 1981, CRAF supports the restaurant community through emergency assistance grants for restaurant workers facing a hardship, job and life skills training for 9,000 high school students each year, and scholarships.

About Anaheim GardenWalkAnaheim GardenWalk is a 460,000-square-foot outdoor dining, shopping and entertainment destination situated in the heart of the Anaheim Resort District just steps from the Disneyland Resort, Anaheim Convention Center, and a short drive from Angel Stadium and Honda Center. Anaheim GardenWalk is home to a distinctive collection of popular restaurants, vibrant nightlife, trendy shops, an upscale bowling lounge and fun family events. New exciting happenings are well underway at Anaheim GardenWalk, including the addition of outstanding restaurants, entertainment venues and retail shops. Upon completion of the redevelopment, Anaheim GardenWalk will provide a one-of-a-kind guest experience and a world-class gathering place for locals and visitors. For more information, visit www.anaheimgardenwalk.com and follow the center on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.