CHARLESTON, W.Va - The winners of the 14th Annual West Virginia ProStart Invitational Culinary Competition are packing their bags for California to compete against their peers from across the country. Students from Carver Career Center in Kanawha County won first place in the culinary and management categories during the ProStart competition held earlier this month. The West Virginia Department of Education's (WVDE) Division of Career Technical Education sponsors the competition each year.
More than a hundred ProStart high school juniors and seniors across the state had the opportunity to win in two separate categories; the culinary category in which participants prepared a fast paced gourmet meal and the management category where students presented a comprehensive business proposal for a new restaurant. In the 14 years of the West Virginia ProStart competition, Carver Career Center is one of only three winners who placed first in both categories.
The ProStart program is a two-year curriculum designed to teach high school students the management skills needed for a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry. Students also have the opportunity to participate in paid internships and be mentored by industry managers. Students that meet academic standards, complete a checklist of competencies, and participate in at least 400 hours of a mentored work experience are awarded the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement. The certificate signifies a student is well qualified to enter the industry workforce.
"The state ProStart competitions are the culmination of students' hard work and a chance to showcase what they've learned," said Kathy D'Antoni, Chief Officer of the Division of Career Technical Education. "The National ProStart Invitational is a prestigious event in which students from West Virginia go head-to-head against the best and brightest teams from around the country. Students who have competed at this level have gone on to study at some of the country's top culinary and management schools and have landed rewarding careers in the restaurant industry."
Currently, 46 ProStart programs operate in West Virginia with an enrollment of approximately 1,300 high school students per year.
The winning culinary students will head to California on April 18-20 for the National ProStart Invitational. For more information, contact Liza Cordeiro in the WVDE Communications Office at 304.558.2699.