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College chef and high school student chef team up to win MenuDirections’ culinary competition

Menu Directions Culinary Competition
Photograph: Scott Mitchell

The duo of Hector Vega, sous chef at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., and ProStart student Ashley Casasola won MenuDirections’ 2019 Chef Culinary Competition on Monday.

This year, a noncommercial chef was paired up with a student from ProStart, a culinary arts program from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation that provides mentorship and training to high school students looking toward a career in the food industry.

Using a basket of preselected ingredients, the four competing teams had an hour to prepare and plate a vegetarian dish. Each entry was judged on creativity, taste and presentation.

The winning dish featured handmade ramen noodles in a vegetarian broth, served with fried chickpeas with lime zest and charred tomato and portobello mushroom. A fried egg sprinkled with a Parmesan crisp topped the item.

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