Local teens face off in premier youth culinary, restaurant management competition

Local teens face off in premier youth culinary, restaurant management competition

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Local teens face off in premier youth culinary, restaurant management competition

LAKEWOOD, WASH. – Future master chefs and entrepreneurs are going head-to-head in the kitchen and the board room at the 2017 Washington ProStart Invitational.

The invitational is held Feb. 18, at the McGavick Conference Center at Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood.

It is the premier youth culinary and restaurant management competition in the state. The competition includes hometown kids from Bonney Lake, Puyallup, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Kent, Bellevue, Mt. Vernon, Oak Harbor, Seattle and Walla Walla.

Groups of four students, accompanied by a mentor and educator, prepare a three-course meal in just 60 minutes using only two butane burners and no running water or electricity.

In the management portion of the contest, the teens present a comprehensive business plan to open their restaurant and manage daily operations.

Professional restaurateurs, hoteliers and chefs in the industry serve as judges, blending praise and ideas for growth.

“The local students who are competing at ProStart are amazing,” said Naja Hogander, the Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation’s manager. “They impress celebrated chefs with their work. ProStart is vital to creating rising stars of our industry.”

Winners from this weekend’s event get to hop a plane and compete for scholarships and honors at the National ProStart Invitational, April 28-30 in Charleston, South Carolina.

The Washington Hospitality Association’s Education Foundation facilitates ProStart each year. The two-year hospitality program develops culinary techniques and management skills in high school students. Washington’s program serves more than 1,500 high school students per year. Students completing 400 hours of industry work experience and passing both ProStart exams can attain a nationally recognized Certificate of Achievement, applicable toward scholarship opportunities and tuition reductions.

“This competition, and the ProStart program itself, is vital for preparing talented young people for careers which can impact the trajectory of their lives,” said Anthony Anton, Washington Hospitality Association president and CEO. “For every year people work in their teens, their income rises 14-16 percent in their 20s. ProStart trains teens and makes them measurably more employable. Not only that, but winning this competition creates an avid passion for this industry and fosters matchless confidence. ProStart is preparation for future generations of master chefs and entrepreneurs. I can’t wait to see where these students take the experience they’ve gained at ProStart.”

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