Four teams of two examined the mystery basket of ingredients, prepped their mis en place and began to chop, blend, stir and saute. The seventh annual Culinary Competition was officially underway at FoodService Director’s MenuDirections conference in Atlanta, and the excitement had begun to build. For the first year, professional chefs were paired with ProStart students from Meadowcreek High School in Georgia, and each team was charged with creating a vegetarian entree in 60 minutes.
ProStart is a nationwide high school culinary arts program of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation that provides mentorship and training to students seeking a career in foodservice. The professional chefs came from operations in healthcare, college and university, and K-12 schools. Here’s what they created together, using products from the competition’s three sponsors—Kikkoman, Land O’Lakes and the Mushroom Council—and grabbing produce, spices, grains and more from the mystery basket.
7. The mentors
Andrew Hunter, Kikkoman’s corporate chef and the competition’s master of ceremonies, interviews chef-instructor Simone Byron (center) and Nesha Bailey-Mason, executive director of the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia (left), about the ProStart program.
9. The judging commences
The panel of judges included (left to right) Pat Cobe, senior editor of FoodService Director and Restaurant Business; Raenel Stelly, a private chef and 2018 competitor; Stephanie Power, executive chef at Spring Harbor Hospital; and Rick Farmer, executive chef at St. Jude’s Research Hospital.