Students to Cook Up Success at 11th Annual West Virginia ProStart Hospitality Cup Competition

Posted: March 01, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – High school culinary students from 16 ProStart programs across West Virginia will compete March 7 and 8 in the 11th Annual West Virginia ProStart Hospitality Cup Competition in Morgantown.

First, second and third place teams at the two-day event will receive scholarships for use at post-secondary schools. The annual competition is conducted by the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Hospitality Education and Training (WVHEAT). High school juniors and seniors will show off their culinary and management skills gained through the ProStart program offered through career technical education programs statewide.

“Knowledge, skill, motivation and teamwork are key factors of success at this competition and in the 21st century,” said state Superintendent Jorea Marple. “The Hospitality Cup is an excellent way for students to hone their culinary and management knowledge with a significant taste of real world pressure. It’s a valuable learning experience for all of the competitors.”

Each team, composed of three to five students, prepares a gourmet meal developed with an industry mentor. Students also 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 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.

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.

The first place finishers in the management and culinary competitions will represent West Virginia at the national competition in Baltimore 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.

Currently, 52 ProStart programs operate in West Virginia with an annual enrollment of about 1,350 high school students.

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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