A Hemlock High School and Saginaw Career Complex student is on his way to a national skills tournament.

LaDouce is honored during a Saginaw Promise luncheon by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, State Rep. Vanessa Guerra and State Sen. Ken Horn (photo by Michael Percha)

Mason LaDouce is a whiz in the kitchen. Just ask the attendees of a Saginaw Promise luncheon held Monday, June 10 at the career complex. His dish of seared French airline chicken breast, rice pilaf, sauteed spinach with onions and tornate carrots was big hit.

It was also a hit at the Skills USA Michigan competition, where he took first place in the culinary category.

Skills USA is a national membership association serving high school, college and middle school students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations, and for further education, according to its website. The organization puts on a national competition each year in a variety of trades. LaDouce is headed to the national competition next.

Growing up, LaDouce helped his dad cook on the grill. Then, when he reached ninth grade, he became part of the culinary program at the Saginaw Career Complex while attend Hemlock High School. This year, he competed at both the regional level and state level in the Skills USA competition. The national competition will be held June 24-29 in Louisville, Kentucky. Should he place in the top three, he would then go to an international competition in Shanghai, China.

LaDouce says he plans on attending the culinary program at Baker College in Port Huron once he graduates.