She didn't bring home the gold medal, but we can be mighty proud of University of Montana culinary arts student Katie Barnes.

Katie placed second at the American Culinary Federation's Student Chef of the Year competition in early February. And while the winner was announced February 7th, Katie had to wait another week to learn that she was the silver medalist. Katie is just a second-year student at Missoula College University of Montana. She says she is even more motivated to go after the top honor next year, in what she described as the most prestigious competition in which a college-level student can participate in the U.S. Heck, they only accepted 11 competitors for the finals!

In case you're wondering, Katie's final dish that almost got her there was a deep-fried malasada with milk chocolate ganache, blood orange caramel sauce, caramel iced banana slices, macadamia nut pineapple ice cream, macadamia tuile and candied cilantro leaf. Nope, I've never seen that in the frozen novelty bin at Town Pump, either!

Katie, congratulations! We're all very proud of our good cookin' Griz!

DB