PRO DAY: The Rhode Island team that went to the National ProStart Invitational in 2012. From left: Gary Braun, Cassie-lee Joseph, Justin McClintin and Krystal Straight.
COURTESY R.I. HOSPITALITY ASSOCIATION
The description reads like a reality TV show. Teams of culinary students compete to open, manage and cook in their own restaurant. They will be judged by restaurant owners, chefs and culinary professionals. The winner receives cash and the chance to go on to a national competition to win more cash.
Its out-of-the-box format is similar to a brand-new NBC prime-time competition show now casting that according to the Internet casting call, “will put everyday home cooks up against professional chefs in a head-to-head showdown.” But this one has a distinctly local flavor.
This month seven teams of Rhode Island high school students will take to the kitchen for real in a no-holds barred, intense contest judged by some of the leading chefs, restaurateurs and professionals from the food-service industry.
The rules are set by ProStart, a two-year high school curriculum that was developed by the National Restaurant Association. Students who graduate from this program earn a nationally recognized certificate of achievement, are eligible to apply for thousands of dollars in scholarship money and earn collegiate credits at colleges and universities throughout the United States.
The ProStart Invitational pits teams of students from around the state in an all-day contest that tests their culinary prowess, as well as their management acumen. A total of 34 culinary arts students from Chariho Regional Career & Technical Center, Cranston Area Career & Technical Center, Exeter Job Corps Academy and William M. Davies Career & Technical High Schools have been preparing all winter for the match, which takes place on March 28 at the Radisson Hotel Providence Airport in Warwick.
Five teams are competing in the culinary-arts portion of the competition and two teams are competing in the management portion. The contest is coordinated by the Rhode Island Hospitality Association.