Thursday, March 16, 2023

Top chefs

Plymouth Canton students win state competition honor

Plymouth-Canton Community School students in the hospitality and
culinary arts program took the top prize at the Michigan ProStart
Culinary Competition in Port Huron on March 5-6. 
They came, they sauteed, they conquered.

Plymouth-Canton Community Schools student chefs chopped their way to victory at the Michigan ProStart Culinary Competition, where they bested 22 other schools and 300 student chefs March 5-6 to be the top high school culinary team in the state. 

“Our young chefs poured their heart and soul into this competition and their dishes truly reflect all their hard work, creativity, talent and passion,” said Plymouth Canton Community Schools  chef instructor and coach Diana Woodward. “We are so grateful to ProStart for encouraging young people to consider an education and careers in hospitality and the culinary arts.”

Plymouth-Canton Community School students practiced
several times a week to prepare ahead of the
Michigan ProStart Culinary Competition.
Nearly 50 students are enrolled in the district hospitality and culinary arts program. At the state contest in Port Huron, the Plymouth Canton team won with a starter of soy marinated tuna with pickled apple, charred scallion mayonnaise, beets, cucumber, avocado mousse and black tahini tuile; a main course of strip steak and braised short rib with potatoes dauphinoise, carrot matignon, tomatoes and mushrooms jus and a dessert of coconut Bavarian orange-almond cake with caramel jam over a coconut, blackberry sorbet and passion fruit curd. 

The winners now will now travel to Washington D.C. to compete at the national level in the National ProStart® Invitational May 2-4 where more than $250,000 in scholarships are available to students who want to continue their post-secondary education in hospitality-related fields. 

“The Plymouth Canton Educational Park students demonstrated hard work, determination and creativity and exemplified what it means to work in the restaurant and hospitality industries,” said Amanda Smith, executive director of the Michigan Hospitality Foundation. “Every student who entered in this competition is primed for success in the hospitality industry.”

Teams had 20 minutes to pre-set their station for the meal production and then had an hour of cooking time using two butane burners in a contained workspace. Teams presented recipes and a menu pricing worksheet. Participants had to showcase a variety of skills, including at least four of 11 specified knife cuts.

The Michigan Prostart Competition is an annual culinary and management competition hosted by the Michigan Hospitality Foundation. Teams are observed, rated and judged by leading industry professionals and higher education instructors. The competition helps students gain firsthand experience in a variety of areas, including food safety, business management, menu development and marketing, according to the foundation website.

“We're so proud of the hard work, dedication and talent of these young culinary wizards,” said Monica Merritt, superintendent of Plymouth-Canton Community Schools. “It's exciting to see our incredible students succeed in the classroom, in the kitchen and in so many different places throughout our learning community.” 

In addition to taking the top spot at the competition, Plymouth Canton students also took second place in restaurant management and another second place in developing healthy and nutritious menus.