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Students Cook Up Success at 10th Annual West Virginia ProStart Hospitality Cup Competition

March 07, 2011

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – High school culinary students from Raleigh and Webster counties captured top honors during the 10th Annual West Virginia ProStart Hospitality Cup competition in Morgantown.
Fourteen ProStart programs served up a hardy portion of completion as the Academy of Careers and Technology in Beckley won first place in the culinary competition and Webster County High School was first in the management competition. Wheeling Park High School in Ohio County was second in the culinary completion and Webster County was third. In management, the Academy of Careers and Technology also took second, followed by Wheeling Park High School in third.
The annual two-day event is conducted by the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Hospitality Education and Training (WVHEAT). It allows high school juniors and seniors to show off their culinary and management skills gained through the ProStart program offered through career and technical education programs statewide. Each team, composed of three to five students, prepares a gourmet meal developed with an industry mentor.
Students also must develop a business proposal for a new restaurant concept consisting of a defined restaurant concept, supporting menu and supporting marketing plan. The students present their comprehensive written proposal to a panel of judges who act as potential investors. Competitors are tested on their critical thinking skills by reacting to potential management challenges related to their concept.
“Knowledge, skill, motivation and teamwork are key factors of success at this competition and in the 21st century,” said state Superintendent Jorea Marple. “All of the competitors should be proud of their performance.”
The ProStart competition is a rigorous event similar to a popular TV cooking competition. Teams have one hour to prepare a meal, including dessert, using only portable gas burners. Teams are judged by a panel of professional chefs, restaurateurs and other culinary professionals.
Winners advance to the National ProStart Invitational in Overland Park, Kan., in April First, second, third, fourth and fifth place teams from both the culinary and management competitions at the national level will be awarded college scholarships totaling more than $400,000. Top state finishers receive scholarships totaling about $24,000. Smaller scholarships are offered to the second and third place state winners.
Other schools competing were Boone Career and Technical Center, Buckhannon-Upshur High School, Calhoun-Gilmer Career and Tech Center, Greenbrier East High School James Rumsey Technical Institute, Marion Career and& Technical Center, Mason Career and Technical Center, Mineral County Technical Center, Mingo Career and Technical Center, United Technical Center in Clarksburg and Wood County Technical Center.
For more information, contact Donna Wilkes, ProStart coordinator for WV HEAT, at (304) 558-6321or dwilkes@access.k12.wv.us, or the Office of Communications at (304) 558-2699.

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