Imagine using your skills to win something that you've always dreamed of, and $1 million to make it "just right." This is going to be a big adventure for one great Colorado Chef.

This chef will be moving nearly 2,000 miles from their current Colorado location in Grand County. Would you up and move that far away if it meant your own place and one million dollars? Probably.

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Grand Lake Lodge in Grand County has been in operation since 1920 and has been home to Executive Chef Karoline Schwartz. Soon, Grand Lake Lodge will begin a search for a new Executive Chef, as Karoline will be taking on a new challenge.

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COLORADO CHEF WINS RESTAURANT, BEATING OUT 500 OTHERS

As part of a large, nationwide, restaurant challenge put on by a local businessman in North Carolina, "Own Your Own," Karoline takes home the Grand Prize.

  • A $1 million-dollar budget to create the restaurant of Karoline's dreams, in Burgaw, North Carolina.
  • A team of architects, designers, and builders to make it happen.

Future home of Karoline's 'The Live Oak' in Burgaw, North Carolina:

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HOW DID THIS COLORADO CHEF WIN HER OWN RESTAURANT?

The challenge began with 500 entrants and was narrowed down to 24 who traveled to Burgaw to compete at their own pop-up kitchens in town.

RELATED: COLORADO 'TOP CHEF' CONTESTANT OPENS FIRST RESTAURANT

Those 24 were narrowed to 12, down to six, then down to just two chefs. A panel of judges, along with community members who dined at the two final meals, Karoline's meal, in conjunction with her plan for a restaurant, sealed her fate as being the winner.

From Karoline:

I’m honored to have been selected from such an amazing group of chefs from across the country,...It’s been an incredible experience getting to know them and creating friendships that would never have come about if not for OYO. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to bring my food to the people of Burgaw and be a part of this community.

WHEN WILL KAROLINE'S RESTAURANT OPEN IN NORTH CAROLINA?

Live Oak is expected to open its doors by the first quarter of 2025. That gives Karoline a full year to put this dream together.

From the entrepreneur who put on the nationwide competition:

Karoline has proven herself time and time again to be worthy of this opportunity, not only based on her culinary skills, but her ability to connect with the community ...In order to be successful in a small town, both the quality of the food and the ability to connect with the community are key.

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