PROVIDENCE – The city returns to the national culinary spotlight this weekend as a prestigious nationwide chef and restaurateur competition holds its finals at the Rhode Island Convention Center.
More than $1 million in culinary arts college scholarships is on the line in the National ProStart Invitational, the country’s premier secondary-school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts.
The Invitational with representatives from nearly every state opens Friday, April 27 and runs through Sunday, April 29. The Rhode Island Hospitality Education Foundation is hosting the event with the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation.
Annually, nearly 400 student competitors on school teams put their skills to the test. Two teams will compete from Rhode Island. A team of chef and foodservice students from William M. Davies, Jr. Career & Technical High School in Lincoln will represent the state in Saturday’s culinary competition in which a team of student chefs must prepare a three-course meal using just two burners.
Students will compete in a wide array of challenges including plate presentation, safe food transportation, knife skills, teamwork/cooperation and professionalism/appearance.
The Davies team has competed on the state level in the past and has represented Rhode Island in the national finals which are held in various cities across the country each year.
In addition, a team from East Providence Career and Technical Center will represent Rhode Island in Sunday’s restaurant management competition consisting of restaurant concept and design presentation including design boards, floor plans, marketing plans, and menu design.
A prestigious panel of judges from across the nation will officiate. Among them will be four Rhode Island chefs: Chef Angie Armenise, executive chef of Blackie’s Bulldog Tavern in Smithfield; Chef Karl Guggenmos from Culinary Solutions International in Cranston; Chef-Instructor Ray McCue from Johnson & Wales University in Providence; and Chef Karsten Hart, Director of Restaurants, Newport Restaurant Group.
Opening ceremonies are Friday evening with awards presented at a dinner/dance on Sunday night.
Bruce Newbury is a PBN contributing writer.