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PITTSBURGH—Elise Wims of Pittsburgh will star in the ninth season of “Hell’s Kitchen,” the Fox reality television show featuring aspiring restauranteurs competing for a head chef position at BLT Steak in New York City. Wims, 26, is a sophomore in the Foodservice, Lodging and Recreation Management program at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) Boyce Campus.
“Elise is a dynamic, outspoken student full of personality,” said Michele Wehrle, PhD, CCAC professor of Hotel/Restaurant Management. “From the day I first met her, I knew she was going to be successful in the hospitality industry. However, I never dreamed she would become a reality show star.”
Wehrle noted that in the 20 years she has led the department, other students and alumni of the program have made noteworthy achievements—including a Pittsburgh Chef of the Year and one alumnus who served as private concierge to the prince of Saudi Arabia during the G20 Summit.
Wims said that she earned an audition for “Hell’s Kitchen” when her friends submitted photographs of her culinary creations to the program. Her success in the first round led to additional auditions and eventually a spot on the show.
There was only one problem: the show’s filming this spring in Los Angeles would cause her to miss three weeks of class. She was granted an exception, however, and diligently made up her coursework.
While the cooking skills that earned her a spot on “Hell’s Kitchen” were not a focus of Wims’ management degree at CCAC, she said that her education has helped to prepare her to lead a restaurant kitchen of her own.
In “Hell’s Kitchen,” chef Gordon Ramsay puts 18 competitors through rigorous challenges—especially his temper—to see who has the skill and passion to win head chef positions at headlining restaurants. The ninth season premiers at 8:00 p.m. Monday, July 18, on Fox.
About the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)
CCAC annually educates 33,000 credit students through 170 degree, certificate and transfer programs and offers non-credit and workforce development courses to 30,000 students. The learning-centered institution’s mission is to provide affordable access to quality education and offer a dynamic, diverse and supportive learning environment that prepares the region’s residents for academic, professional and personal success in our changing global society. CCAC’s quality programs enable students to transfer credits to 520 colleges and universities and support regional workforce needs with accessible instruction available day, evening, weekend and online in Allegheny County and beyond. Visit www.ccac.edu to learn more.