Local Teen Represents Valley in Statewide Cooking Competition

SHENANDOAH COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) -- Everyone has a passion, taking them out of their comfort zone and bringing joy.

Zachary Khambata grew up watching his father cook and when he passed away in August, it pushed him even further to go after his dreams.

"I know he's looking down and he is saying, 'that's my son, I'm definitely proud of him.'" said Khambata.

After winning regionals, Khambata is moving forward to compete in the state competition and can't believe this dream has become a reality.

Paje Cross, his cooking teacher at Triplett Tech, said he loves to cook, a skill many students haven't quite developed yet at his age.

"Zack has such a passion and such an energy for this field and it comes so naturally as hes spent most of his life in this restaurant industry," said Cross.

Now, as the thought of the competition creeps up, Khambata said he never thought five years ago that he would be competing and proving to himself and his family that he can make a difference.

"If he could see what I've been doing, he wouldn't believe it," said Khambata.

Khambata's mother said she never wanted to push him to be a lawyer or doctor; instead, he was always encouraged to go after his passion.

He just received a scholarship to college, to continue learning to cook.

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