Davenport Community School Students Compete in Chef Competition in West Des Moines on February 24th PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Katelyn Kostek   
Tuesday, 18 February 2014 13:15

Students from Across Iowa Compete in State Culinary and Restaurant Management Competition

Create Three Course Meal in One Hour with Butane Burners

Winners of ProStart Competition to Represent Iowa in National Event


February 24, 2013, West Des Moines, Iowa— Students from across Iowa will be converging in West Des Moines on Monday, February 24th to compete for “top chef” honors as part of the Iowa ProStart Invitational hosted by the Iowa Restaurant Association Education Foundation.  Teams of culinary students will be given 60 minutes to prepare and present a three-course meal using only two butane burners.  Their creations will be tasted and evaluated by a panel of expert chefs and the winning team will advance to represent Iowa in the National ProStart Invitational in Minneapolis, May 3-5.

Management Competition

A second competition will also take place—this one focused on restaurant management and operations. Students have researched and prepared a presentation for a new restaurant concept.  They will present their concepts and then defend the viability of their ideas to a panel of restaurant owners and entrepreneurs from across the state.  The winning management team will also advance to Minneapolis.

“This is an extremely intense competition,” explained Jessica Dunker, president of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “The students have been working on their recipes, restaurant concepts and presentations for months.”

Six Schools Compete

All participating high schools use a curriculum called ProStart, developed collaboratively with educators and industry. ProStart is a nationwide, two-year high school program which blends culinary techniques and management skills. More than 1,900 schools across the country use the ProStart Program in their curriculum.  However, it has just started being broadly adopted in Iowa having grown from three Iowa schools two years ago to nearly 20 high schools today.

Schools participating in the competition include last year’s winning management team, Davenport Community Schools, as well as Burlington High School, Cherokee’s Washington High School, Des Moines Central Campus High School, Logan-Magnolia High School, and Waukee High School.

Ready to Work, Continue Education

“This is as real as it gets without working in the harried environment of a packed, five-star restaurant on a Friday night,” said Dunker. “Students who can perform under this pressure, are well prepared to graduate and pursue a career in the hospitality industry or have a leg up on their post-secondary culinary or management education.”

Iowa Restaurant Association Education Foundation

The Iowa Restaurant Association protects, promotes and educates Iowa’s hospitality industry.  The Association’s education foundation is the organization’s charitable foundation. Its mission is to create and promote awareness of hospitality as a professional career path and to strengthen and improve the educational offerings, opportunities and services for the advancement of the restaurant and retail beverage industries in the State of Iowa.

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