Teams of students from high schools across South Dakota will compete in the South Dakota ProStart Invitational March 17 in Mitchell.
Teams from Britton-Hecla High School, Brookings High School, Huron High School, McIntosh High School, Madison Central High School, Mitchell CTE, Mobridge-Pollock High School, Sioux Falls CTE Academy, Sturgis Brown High School, and Webster Area High School will participate in the competition, which tests students on culinary and business management knowledge and skills.
Huron High School team members include Tyler Busch, Jasmin Newton, Jordan Waldner and Lincoln Witte. The team is competing under the direction of instructor Kathy Engst.
The ProStart Invitational is a joint effort of the South Dakota Department of Education, the South Dakota Retailers Association, and the South Dakota ProStart Advisory Committee. “The ProStart program is a phenomenal program,” said Seanna Regynski, ProStart Coordinator for the South Dakota Retailers Association. “It teaches business skills such as customer service, overhead, inventory, business math and safety, along with impressive culinary skills that will last a lifetime. Students work as a team through this program. And in many schools, the students have opportunities for mentored worksite experience. The ProStart Invitational provides a fun way for students to put to the test all of those skills they’ve developed in the classroom.”
The ProStart Invitational is composed of two main areas: culinary and management.
In the Culinary portion of the competition, each team will prepare a three-course gourmet meal in one hour, using only two butane burners, and without running water or electricity. Professional chefs will score the teams on numerous factors including preparation skills, taste, presentation, teamwork, safety and sanitation.
In the Management part of the competition, teams will develop a proposal on a restaurant concept, and present it to judges from the food service industry. The presentations will include details about the layout, menu and pricing for the restaurant concept. Next, as audience members look on, their problem solving skills will be tested as they answer questions from foodservice professionals about challenges faced daily by businesses.
Huron High School instructor Kathy Engst explained how the students are getting ready for the competition.
“They met with the chef and owner of Yessica’s restaurant and helped prepare some of the recipes,” Engst said. “This helped the students get motivated for the competition.”
Engst outlined what her students gain from the ProStart program and the competition.
“I hope my students gain some confidence in their cooking skills and continue to have an interest in cooking and challenging themselves,” she said.
The ProStart Invitational will be held at the Mitchell Technical Institute Campus Center on March 17 and is open to the public at no charge. Following orientation sessions for teams and judges, teams go head to head starting at 9:00 a.m. The competition continues throughout the afternoon, with awarding of prizes at approximately 5:15 p.m.