Teen chef has can-do attitude

Elisha Elliott and her mother, Lynn.

Elisha Elliott loves to travel - and is she ever going places.

The Sequim High School senior just finished a year as an Irrigation Festival princess. Now she is preparing to travel to Dallas, Texas, to compete in the Best Teen Chef contest in May, and to New York City to compete in the Teen Iron Chef contest in July.

Elliott wants to become a chef and the contests offer a full scholarship for first place, a half scholarship for second place and a quarter scholarship for third place to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Even if she doesn't win, she still plans to attend cooking school and become a chef.

"I love to cook and people love my food," she says.

Elliott cooks for a variety of parties and meetings and always is looking for ways to improve her recipes. For the contests, she has created a Mediterranean-style lamb dish. She is asking friends and family to sample it now and suggest improvements so it will be ready by May.

After she becomes a chef, Elliott would like to study in Paris and Rome. She enjoys European food and would like to learn on site. Eventually she would like to open her own restaurant in Sequim serving European food.

Beyond that, Elliott would like to have her own television cooking show, using it to teach and to help showcase African countries threatened by hunger. She also would like to teach teens and adults how to cook.

Elliott started cooking at 7, when she would help her mother. She was diagnosed with a learning disorder at age 5.

Her mom says, "She's worked very hard and I am extraordinarily proud of her."

Both Elisha and her mother credit being an Irrigation Festival princess for giving Elisha more poise, self-esteem and the ability to talk to strangers. One of the auctioned prizes at this year's Irrigation Festival kick-off dinner will be an Italian seafood dinner Elliott will prepare.

When asked if she thinks she can accomplish her goals, Elliot replies, "I know I can do it.

"I won't quit until I succeed."

Reach Dana Casey at

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