Friday, March 8, 2013

Hammond and Rayne teams takes first place in Louisiana Seafood ProStart Competition

The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF) hosted the 12th Annual Louisiana Seafood ProStart® Student Competition, March 5-6, 2013 at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner. The competition showcased the culinary and academic talents of students from 17 high schools across Louisiana, and featured two primary components: the Culinary Arts Competition and the Restaurant Management Competition. This year began a multi-year relationship with the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board, the competition’s title sponsor.

During the Culinary Arts Competition, teams demonstrated their knife skills, poultry fabrication and creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes, consisting of: a soup, salad or appetizer; an entrée with a protein, vegetable and starch; and a dessert. All teams’ menus had to feature at least one type of the six Louisiana seafood species.

Hammond High Magnet School's team takes
top place in the Louisiana Seafood
ProStart Culinary Competition, March 5.
For the sixth year in a row, the winner of the Culinary Arts Competition was Hammond High Magnet School, led by instructor Patti Johnson and students Jacquita Jolley, Julia LaSalle, Edna Phares and Chantal Quillen. The second place team was Salmen High School in Slidell, led by instructor Allison Armand and students Sean Coats, Courtney Mobley, Lauren Pedeaux, Ta’Ron Rayford and alternate, Shilon Callahan. The third place team was first-time competitor West Feliciana High School in St. Francisville, led by instructor Amy Dreher and students Warneiseya Davis, Chaselan Lee Eames, Amanda Mangham, Elizabeth Ritchie-Fudge and alternate, Deneshia Walker.

Hammond’s winning menu was: appetizer-pumpkin seed and curry crusted jumbo Anna Maria Gulf Shrimp, Mardi Gras slaw, pepper bacon and Creole cane sauce with jumbo lump Louisiana crab; entrée-braised pork “Osso Bucco,” bacon jam, cornmeal dusted, goat cheese grits and lardon field greens; and dessert-Red Velvet pan “cakes,” with cream cheese icing, whipped cream, white chocolate shavings, and garnished with a Ponchatoula strawberry.

Teams participating in the Restaurant Management Competition demonstrated their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by developing a restaurant proposal, delivering a verbal presentation, creating a visual display and applying critical thinking skills to challenges managers face in day-to-day operations.

Rayne High School's team takes first place in the
Louisiana Seafood ProStart Management Competition.
For the fourth year in a row, the winner of the Restaurant Management Competition was Rayne High School, led by instructor Kandice Dequeant and students Kelsey Burleigh, Sebastian Hebert and Beth Thibodeaux. The second place team was Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville, led by instructor Angie Drago and students Dylan Bernard, Mark Gravois and Graham Roth. The third place team was Lakeshore High School in Mandeville, led by instructor Judy Achary and students Brandi Francis, Rachel Howard, Ricardo Najorro, Elizabeth Salazar and alternate, Katie Taylor.

Rayne’s winning restaurant concept was a food truck called Rock & Wrap, with the tagline, “Healthy Without the Hassle.”

Hammond High Magnet Academy and Rayne High School will represent Louisiana in the National ProStart Invitational in Baltimore, Maryland April 19-21, 2013.

The 2013 Louisiana Seafood ProStart Student Competition Sponsors include: Louisiana Seafood, Acme Oyster House, Auto-Chlor Services, Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, Performance Foodservice Caro, Atmos Energy, Louisiana Culinary Institute, Ocean Conservancy, Ovations, ECOLAB, Mestizo Restaurant, Notini’s Restaurant, Capitol City Produce, Centerplate, Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, Freeman Decorating, Pontchartrain Convention & Civic Center, Reinhart Foodservice and Sysco New Orleans.

“We are proud to sponsor the Louisiana Seafood ProStart Student Competition,” said Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board Executive Director Ewell Smith. “It is a great way for us to introduce the students to cooking with Louisiana seafood and demonstrate how it can be used to create award winning dishes like the ones we saw in the competition. I am glad to know that these talented students will be the future spokespeople for our restaurant and seafood communities.”

ProStart is a two-year comprehensive culinary management course for juniors and seniors in high school with two primary outcomes: to prepare students for higher education and to train students to go directly to work in Louisiana’s foodservice industry. The LRAEF pairs ProStart students and LRA members together in a mutually-beneficial relationship. Students are required to complete a 400-hour work internship, thus providing hands-on training. Many of LRA members serve as mentors to ProStart students.

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