Teen Chef Debuts Skills at Local Restaurant
ANCHORAGE - Making food is a passion for one 13-year-old Anchorage girl. She took the lessons she's learned at Central Middle School and dished up gratitude for military members, and even got to display her culinary prowess at a popular restaurant. Donning a hat, apron, and a sharp knife, Charlissa Titus got to be a Benihana chef for a night.
It's not very often you see a 13-year-old cooking at Benihana's. But Charlissa Titus is not your typical teen.
She's got a passion for culinary arts and she's determined to learn every trick no matter how silly it seems.
As part of Janna Walker's family and consumer science class, the 8th grader from Central Middle School wants to be a professional chef. Her teacher picked her to be a chef for a day to learn the art of Teppanyaki cooking as part of a years-long partnership between the school and the restaurant.
“A lot of my students love what they are doing in here but as a career path it’s not where they are headed,” said Walker. “Charlissa has always said that her career path is culinary arts.”
“I used to go [to Benihana] all the time for my birthday, and I used to always love to watch them cook and stuff so its kind of cool to do what they did,” said Titus.
But the lesson plan also included giving back. Nerves aside, and with the training complete, Charlissa made hibachi meals for some members of Alaska's military who have volunteered at Central during the year.
“I grade her about the first time maybe about a B,” said Master Benihana Chef Ed Ticknor. “She didn't really get the cutting down but that's normal for a first time.”
Charlissa, though, was focused on working hard, and the service members appreciated the results.
“It’s great it tastes like a regular cook that works here made it,” said Tech Sergeant Jennifer Theulen, who is a part of the Alaska Air National Guard. “It’s really cool to give something and for someone to recognize it in return.”
Charlissa sliced and diced steak, shrimp, and veggies into a delicious dish. Even so much so that Master Benihana Chef Ed later changed Charlissa's grade to an "A."