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Utah Valley University
Emma El-Farra, a first-year culinary arts student at Utah Valley University, was named the Western region’s Student Chef of the Year during last week's American Culinary Federation competition in Las Vegas.

OREM — A first-year culinary arts student at Utah Valley University was named the Western region’s Student Chef of the Year during last week's American Culinary Federation competition in Las Vegas.

Emma El-Farra, a sophomore from Santa Clarita, California, now advances to the federation’s “Final Five” national competition in Orlando in August.

This marks the fourth-straight year a UVU student has been named Western region Student Chef of the Year. Two of the previous three winners went on to be named national Student Chef of the Year.

El-Farra had one hour to go from raw ingredients to finished plate. She finished with 10 seconds left on the clock, earning a gold medal for her efforts.

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“It was much more intense than I expected,” she said in a statement “When you’ve got several judges standing over you watching your every move, it made me even more nervous than I already was!”

“You do lose points if you are late at all,” she said. “I had practiced more than a dozen times without being late once, so the adrenaline was really pumping there at the end.”

El-Farra’s menu consisted of pan-seared salt-rubbed arctic char with buttery roe-beurre blanc, char mousseline and king crab stuffed crepe, smoked char belly “bacon,” along with peas winter puree, sautéed asparagus and glazed butternut squash.