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March 25, 2021

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – The American Culinary Federation (ACF) Greater Kansas City (GKC) Chefs Association has selected Cecilia Knight as Johnson County Community College (JCCC) Chef Apprentice of the Year for 2020. She is the 42nd recipient of the Hans Enderlin Award (named after the College’s first chef apprentice coordinator in the 1970s).

Knight received a gift certificate and engraved chef’s knife, compliments of Ambrosi Brothers Cutlery; her name will be added to a plaque in the Wylie Hospitality and Culinary Academy on campus; and she was invited to speak at a JCCC Board of Trustees meeting.

Students in JCCC’s Chef Apprentice program work as paid apprentices for 6,000 hours over several years under the supervision of an experienced ACF-qualified chef. Knight was nominated by her supervising chef, Ryan Williams of Rye in Leawood, who is also a JCCC graduate.

From the 70 students in the College’s program, chefs nominate a handful of apprentices who have high GPAs and excellent work ethic. The students are then interviewed by board members of the ACF GKC Chefs Association. Those same board members choose a winner and runner-up.

According to Jerry Marcellus, JCCC Chef Apprentice Coordinator and Hospitality Management Professor, “The award recognizes an outstanding JCCC student who continually takes initiative and aims for excellence. They’re the type of student who stays later to learn just one more thing.”

Knight, who graduates in May, has a passion for sustainable food and hopes to one day become an executive chef for a restaurant with its own farm. She’d also like to bring more awareness of sustainable food to low-income communities.

Hannah Baugh was the runner-up. She apprentices at Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate under Executive Chef Phil Frohling, also a JCCC graduate. Baugh’s goal is to own a catering and meal planning business.

JCCC offers a variety of hospitality and culinary degree and certificate programs, taught by world-class industry experts.