What can you cook in one hour with two small gas burners, no refrigeration, and no electricity? The Jackson Hole High School Culinary Team is cooking a three-course meal inspired by Asian cuisine, and is taking their skills to the National ProStart Invitational.
ProStart is an education program sponsored by the National Restaurant Association. The goal of the program and its curriculum is to prepare high school students for careers in the restaurant and food service industry. Teams are not only judged on their menu, but the degree of difficulty, food safety and sanitation, knife skills, cooking procedures, food costing, teamwork, taste, and presentation. Four judges observe the teams as they prepare their meal, while six judges taste the completed dishes.
The JHHS Culinary Team, led by Molly Matthaei, chef instructor for the school’s Culinary Arts Program, advances to the national competition after securing the state title in Cheyenne in March 2017. The team of four consists of JHHS students Anne Romero Sosa, Tori Wolf, Antonina Profatilov, and Sam Lima. They began practicing in November 2016, and have been honing their skills at a weekly practice ever since.
For the first course, the JHHS Culinary Team prepares Vietnamese style chicken wings with crispy rice noodles and pickled vegetable salad. Their entrée is a pan roasted cod with carrot noodles, forbidden rice pilaf, soy reduction, and ginger beet air. They round out the meal with dessert: a passion fruit ice box pie with fruit salsa and blueberry paint.
In addition to their state title, the students received a combined total of $132,000 in scholarships to culinary institutions. The scholarship funds are to prestigious culinary institutions, including: the Culinary Institute of America, New England Culinary Institute, and Johnson and Wales. At the National ProStart Invitational, the students will again compete for scholarships, as well as have the opportunity to learn and practice more advanced cooking techniques from professional chefs.
The 16th Annual National ProStart Invitational will take place April 28 through 30, in Charleston, S.C. The JHHS Culinary Team has been working hard to raise the necessary $7,000 to cover the costs of travel, event expenses, and practice groceries. Fundraising efforts have included large catering events, as well as a Go Fund Me page. To contribute, please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/jhhsculinaryteam.
The Dishing team would like to wish these hardworking students the best of luck at Nationals, and in furthering their culinary educations.