Last month at the Wisconsin Restaurant Expo, 127 students from 24 high schools put their skills to the test in the Wisconsin ProStart® Invitational. The winning team of each component, culinary and management, received state scholarship dollars and presses on to the National ProStart Invitational in Baltimore, held April 27-29, 2012. More than $1 million in scholarships are awarded to the top five teams at the national competition.
The four-member team from Wauwatosa East High School, consisting of senior Raven Koch, junior Frankie Fleury and sophmores Ian Gradian and Kirsten Miller, won the state championship in the Culinary division. Tosa East instructor Barb Bruesewitz and mentor Chef Jason Tofte of Eddie Martini’s helped lead the student team to state victory and worked very hard to prepare the students for contending at Nationals against 41 teams.
At the National ProStart Invitational, Team Wisconsin from Wauwatosa East has one hour to prepare their three-course meal: a starter of pan-seared scallops on white asparagus salad with yuzo vinaigrette and a spicy mango relish, tea-smoked duck breast entrée and jasmine rice cake over Asian slaw with miso broth, and strawberry shortcake with gingered strawberries and whipped cream with strawberry coulis for dessert. They are judged on menu and recipe presentation, knife skills, food safety and sanitation, appearance, teamwork and cooperation, cooking procedures, product taste and degree of difficulty, to name a few.
Read an article on the culinary team featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The four-member team plus alternate from Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, consisting of seniors Alexandria Rich, Mercedes Marcouex, Samuel Delaney and Emily Tauschek and junior Kayla Geister. The Lincoln team instructor Lynn Borski and mentors Amy and Ryan Schiede from Great Expectations gave solid support and advice to help the team secure the state championship and prepare the students for the management competition at Nationals.
In the management competition at the National ProStart Invitational, students demonstrate their knowledge of the hospitality industry by developing a business proposal for a new restaurant concept. Students are judged on oral presentation skills, written proposal format and execution, critical thinking and visual display.
Read an article on the management team featured in the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune
The ProStart program, administered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and state restaurant associations, is a two-year curriculum designed to teach high school students the skills needed for a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry. Students also have the opportunity to participate in paid internships where industry managers mentor them. When students meet academic standards, complete a checklist of competencies, and participate in at least 400 hours of a mentored work experience, they are awarded the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement that signifies they are well qualified to enter the industry workforce.
Learn more about the Wisconsin ProStart program
The Wisconsin ProStart program and Invitational competitions are made possible by the generous support of these sponsors:
Culver's VIP Foundation (gold program sponsor, management competition sponsor and national competition trip sponsor)
US Foods (gold culinary and management competition sponsor)
Marcus Hotel and Resorts (program sponsor)
WRA Milwaukee Chapter (program sponsor)
The Vollrath Co., LLC (culinary competition sponsor)
Gold'nPlump (culinary competition table sponsor)
Darden Restaurants (ProStart scholarship project)
Fein Brothers (competition equipment donor)