A couple of Northampton Community College culinary grad students are getting a chance of a lifetime. They're set to compete on the international stage as the lone representatives of the United States.
The clock is ticking for Matthew Kirby and Thomas Traupman, who are heading to Ningbo, China for the International Young Chefs Association Challenge.
"I couldn't believe it at first. Like I still kind of can't believe it, as it gets closer and closer to China the anxiousness, and nervousness kind of starts to set in," Kirby said.
The two were selected by instructors at the college. For the last four months they've been chopping, blending and working on a dish to wow the judges. They were also selected to go work in New Orleans with Chef Emeril Lagasse and had to choose where to go.
"Kind of a no brainer to go to China and experience that," Traupman said.
Both will compete in the team and individual categories. They are the only team from the United States.
"Pretty nervous, but excited. I'm hoping to represent the United States and Northampton," Traupman said.
We can't show you the finished product because the competition could be watching. Just know these two will not let the pot boil over. They have a fire burning deep inside to bring home a title while fulfilling a culinary dream.
"I've never dreamed of an opportunity like this. I've always wanted to work in kitchens and to go to another country to cook for myself instead of someone else, I can't be anymore grateful. I'm just nothing but thankful," Kirby said.
The students only have two more practice sessions to get the dish just right. They will be under the watchful eye of Chef Francine Marz until the competition on October 24.