DEMING, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico High School students are getting the opportunity to work with celebrity chefs. Culinary students at Deming High School will be competing in a cooking event at Walt Disney Resort in Florida. 

Kaylani Gonzales, Illyana Varela and Aidan Villescas are part of the Deming culinary team called, Pro Start. They’ve all been invited to participate in the cooking competition. “Cook Around the World” at Walt Disney World Resort. The competition hosts teams from around the country.  

Schools will be paired with another team and work together to prepare a dish from a “mystery box” with surprise ingredients. The students say this is a dream come true. “I think that’s the best thing of it all, that we’re going to be with other kids from other schools, and we’re all going to be cooking in the same amount of minutes,” says Kaylani Gonzales, Deming Pro Start Team member. 

This year the competition will host more than 700 kids. During their five-day stay in Orlando, the team will work alongside a celebrity chef, industry executives, and representatives of culinary arts and hospitality schools. Deming High School has been trying to participate in the national competition since 2015. They were first invited in 2020, but the event was cancelled due to the pandemic. Now this team will be the first to compete. 

The culinary trio says although they’d love to win first, they’re just trying to enjoy the experience. “It means a lot to me, knowing that a lot of hard work and a lot of, like, blood, sweat and tears, kind of, are making us go to Florida, and it’s really encouraging,” says Aidan Villescas, Deming Pro Start Team member.   

The team leaves for Orlando on the 21st. During the event, students will also have the opportunity to win scholarships and internships.