The challenges the restaurant and hospitality industries have faced during and coming out of Covid have been unlike anything we have ever seen. But through it all, ProStart worked with high school students to provide real time, hands-on training in culinary and restaurant management education. This program not only teaches culinary skills and restaurant management fundamentals, but employable skills such as communication, teamwork, professionalism, and time management.
Montana State University held the Montana Prostart Invitational culinary competition on March 16th and 17th, allowing students from all high schools across Montana to compete. Two teams from Belgrade High School won both the management and culinary competition, granting them the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. and nationally compete against all 50 of the United States and the territory of Guam. The National ProStart and Family Career and Community Leaders of America culinary competitions were not easily obtained.
The Culinary Competition requires teams to demonstrate their culinary knowledge, skills, and creative abilities throughout the 60 minutes of their competition. They’re tested on the demonstration of their skill and preparation of a unique three course meal, as well as their ability to work together cleanly and safely during the process of creation and presentation of their meals. During this time, teams are only given two Butane burners, are stripped of their access to running water and electricity, and are closely observed and rated by judges from the foodservice industry and post-secondary schools.
Meanwhile, the Management Competition requires participating teams to demonstrate their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by developing a written proposal for the next promising restaurant concept and immediately presenting it to a panel of industry judges in a simulated business exposition. The teams are expected to present their concepts to various groups of judges through verbal presentations, question and answer timeslots, and posters, and must quickly respond to questions posed by the panel; just as managers are faced with daily.
The months our Belgrade High School teams spent practicing and creating their meals were accomplished through dedication and passion. These Juniors and Seniors have proven that they deserve to contend in the national competition. The cost to send our 10 students, their equipment, and advisors to Washington D.C. from Montana will be about $35,000. Please consider helping support our two teams, as they will be representing Montana on the national stage. An opportunity like this is something that helps keep our students on their culinary and hospitality paths.