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South Carolina ProStart Invitational crowns 2015 champions

Tuesday, April 7, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katie Montgomery
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"I'm going to Disneyland!” It’s the famous line declared by Super Bowl MVP’s, World Series Champions and now, the best and brightest culinary students from South Carolina.

That’s where the winners of the 2015 SC ProStart Invitational are heading in May, after wowing the judges at the state competition last month in Charleston.


Around 200 students from high schools across SC showcased their talent, passion and skills at the 13th annual South Carolina ProStart Invitational at the Embassy Suites Hotel at the Charleston Area Convention Center. The event brings together students who participate in ProStart, a two-year high school program that unites the classroom and industry to develop the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice leaders.

The SCRLA manages the ProStart program in South Carolina through its Tourism and Hospitality Education Foundation, which puts on the annual competition.

“The passion and excitement displayed by these students is contagious, and shows how valuable the ProStart program is,” said SCRLA President John Durst. “It’s incredible to watch how prepared the students are and the depth of their knowledge. They are all truly winners.”

Winners took home trophies, medals, more than $1 million in scholarships, plus, the winning Culinary and Restaurant Management teams have the exciting opportunity to compete in the National ProStart Invitational at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

In the Culinary Arts Competition, teams of 2-4 (plus an optional alternate) high school students designed, budgeted, prepared and served a three-course meal using only two butane burners. All this was done without electricity, running water or help from anyone other than their team members. They prepared gourmet meals and were judged by certified chefs using industry standards – all in just 60 minutes!



Anderson Career & Technology Center students after the competition

In the Varsity Culinary Arts Competition, Anderson Career and Technology Center won for the fourth consecutive year. Team members Matt Long, Daniel Irvin, Donna Harris, Andrew Isble and Tommi Rae Fowler, under the guidance of teacher Chris Moree, won the judges over with their mouth-watering menu.

The team’s first dish was a Foie Gras Pain Perdu with pickled blackberries, fennel, mint and blackberry syrup. The second course served was a Spiced Palmetto Squab with braised Lacinato kale, Johnny Cakes, petite kale salad and a fig reduction sauce. The team finished with a dessert called You Can’t Beet Guinness, which included Beet Panna Cotta, Guinness ice cream, Devil’s Food Cake, streusel and a raspberry beet sauce.

Culinary Competition Results
1st: Anderson Career & Technology Center
2nd: Daniel Morgan Technology Center
3rd: Wando High School
4th: West Ashley High School
5th: Pelion High School

Teams participating in the Restaurant Management Competition demonstrated their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by developing a restaurant concept and delivering a verbal and visual demonstration about it to a panel of judges. As judges grilled the students about their concepts, they had to apply critical thinking skills to challenges managers face in day-to-day operations.



Wando High School students pose with their trophy


In the Varsity Management category, Wando High School, under the guidance of Chef Bill Twaller, took home the top prize for the second straight year, with it’s Global Gourmet food truck concept. Students Anna Ware, Talbot McGee and Tanner Crunelle won the judges over with their plan for a mobile restaurant that features a wide selection of international gourmet sandwiches.

From using solar power, to growing their own herbs, the students impressed the judges with their plan to make the restaurant sustainable and green.

Management Competition Results      
1st: Wando High School
2nd: North Myrtle Beach High School
3rd:  The Applied Technology Center
4th:  Blythewood High School  
5th: Academy for Technology & Academics

The top five teams in both categories received individual medals recognizing their achievement. The top three teams were also awarded scholarships. Along with the coveted SC ProStart Invitational trophy and scholarships, the first place teams are headed west. They’ll compete in the National ProStart Invitational April 18-20 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California. The teams are busy preparing and we wish them the best of luck!

All participating varsity and junior varsity teams were also awarded plaques recognizing their hard work and commitment to the ProStart program.

The South Carolina Tourism and Hospitality Education Foundation (T.H.E. Foundation) and the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association partners with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) to offer the ProStart Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts Program to high school students across the state.

An event as big as this couldn’t come together without the support of teachers, students, judges, volunteers and sponsors. So many people worked very hard to make it all happen. The SCRLA thanks everyone who helped make this year’s competition one of the best yet and certainly one of the most competitive.

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