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Friday, March 16, 2007

Lactose-Free Congratulations

Lactose-Free congratulations go to Valarie Watson, who was recently selected as one of 10 finalists in the dessert category of Johnson & Wales University's National High School Chef of the Year competition, from among 725 entrants.

According to Jason Beck's article in the Dunn, NC, Daily Record:

With inspiration from Chef Pearl, she created the masterpiece that earned her a spot in the competition - the banana-flavored, lactose-free panna cotta with almond lace cookie.

An Italian dessert featuring gelatin, bananas, strawberries, chocolate hearts and a twisted cookie, the panna cotta has visual appeal. Judges selected which students would advance to the final round after viewing pictures of the dish, nutrition information and ingredients.


Valarie chose her dessert for another reason: She is lactose intolerant.

Though the soy-milk dessert is not exactly a staple of Southern culture, Chef Pearl said many of his students enjoyed the unique creation after some persuasion.

"When we finally got some of the students to try it, they actually liked it," he said.

Obviously the judges were impressed as well.

She'll know very soon how well she does in the finals: they're held tomorrow (3/17). The rest of us will probably have to wait to find out until they are shown on Food TV, which they will be at a yet unscheduled time.


Valarie Watson was first runner-up in the dessert category and the winner of a $7,500 renewable tuition scholarship.

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