by Tiffany Maleshefski

Having your local teenager cook dinner might evoke images of macaroni and cheese and pot brownies, but at the Art Institute of California's annual Best Teen Chef Competition, high-school aged kids whip up dishes that put mom's meatloaf to shame.

Sponsored by International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California, the competition draws teen chefs from across the U.S. and Canada to flambé, sauté, and chiffonade their way to victory. More than 30 participating Art Institute locations (including our very own San Francisco campus) host a cook-off portion of the competition on March 14, 2009. The local winners advance to the National Best Teen Chef Final Round Competition, held on Saturday, May 9, 2009 at The Art Institute of Charlotte.

The big winner walks away with a full-tuition scholarship, the title of Best Teen Chef, and oh! my! god! the national first place winner, in partnership with Food Network, will be an "Intern for a Day" at Food Network Kitchens in New York City. AHHHHHHH!!! If only we looked 16 to 18 years old! The winner will also receive a tour of Food Network's studios, dinner for two at a Food Network chef's restaurant, and a library of Food Network Kitchens cookbooks.

If we could turn back time…

Follow the jump for more details.