CONTACT:  JIM MORRIS
Director, Public Information
573-751-3469

Vol. 44, No. 22

March 12, 2010

Team to defend national title in April

Herndon Career Center Team Wins State Culinary Contest

 A team of talented students from Herndon Career Center, Raytown, again captured first place in the annual Missouri ProStart® high school culinary contest.  The students now advance to represent the state at the National ProStart Invitational – and to defend their national title.  The national competition will be held April 30 in Overland Park, Ks.

The Herndon Career Center team hopes to be the first ever to repeat as a national champion in the culinary arts portion of the ProStart event.

ProStart is a two-year culinary arts and restaurant management program developed by the National Restaurant Association. It gives high school students the opportunity to learn about the art of cooking and managing restaurants by training with professional chefs and getting valuable classroom instruction.

Glendale High School, Springfield, and Park Hill High School, Kansas City, won second and third place, respectively, in the statewide competition that featured more than 100 students in 25 teams.

The Herndon team is instructed and coached by Chef Ben Griswold, a former corporate chef who stepped out of the industry to become a teacher in 2004.  Griswold is the culinary arts instructor at Herndon Career Center, which is operated by the Raytown School District.

“This is the first time I’ve had a female-dominated team with three young ladies and two young men,” said Chef Griswold. “They each bring a different skill set to the team, and their hard work speaks to their dedication to becoming the first team to repeat as national champions.”

The Missouri Restaurant Association Educational Foundation sponsored the state ProStart event, held last month (Feb. 18-19) on the campus of East Central College in Union. The teams demonstrated their culinary skills in a competition as challenging as those held for professional chefs, according to Hank Huitt, state ProStart director.

The rigorous competition is observed and rated by judges from leading colleges and universities, as well as the foodservice industry.  Points are awarded or deducted for work skill, organization, safety and sanitation, team presentation, taste and menu and recipe presentation.

Teams from each school were required to prepare a three-course meal for two people within one hour, using only two butane burners as the cooking source.  The appetizer, entrée and dessert had to be completed at the exact time in order for the entire meal to have a fresh, beautiful presentation. Each student also had to demonstrate knife skills and other food management and preparation techniques.

Celebrity Chef Jeff Henderson from the Food Network spoke on the opening day of the event, providing inspiration to the participating culinary students and instructors.

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For more information, contact: Cheryl LeFon, supervisor, Family Consumer Sciences and Human Services section, Missouri Department of Education (573.751.7965) or Hank Huitt, Missouri ProStart director (417.844.1351).