High School Culinary & Management Teams from Around the State Compete In TV-Style ProStart® Championships
After Two-Year Hiatus, Oregon High School Culinary and Management Teams Return to Compete In Statewide Championships
High school teams will compete in statewide culinary and management competitions at the Oregon Hospitality Foundation’s Oregon ProStart Championships. Culinary teams of four students prepare a 3-course gourmet meal in 60 minutes using only two butane burners and are evaluated by a team of professional chef judges. Five teams of four students will present their new restaurant concept to a panel of industry professionals in a simulated business exposition in the management competition.
Monday, March 13, 2023, 8:00am -2:00pm (Awards dinner 5-7:00pm); schedule is posted online at OregonRLA.org/championships
Salem Convention Center, 200 Commercial Street SE, Salem, Oregon 97301
To help high school students jump start culinary and hospitality careers, the Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) supports educators and schools offering ProStart, a national career and technical education (CTE) curriculum and program developed by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Teaching culinary, teamwork, and management skills needed by restaurant, hospitality and foodservice employers, the Oregon ProStart Championships is the capstone of this two-year program, providing a public opportunity for students to showcase what they have learned.
Of the 40 Oregon high school programs, currently involving over 4,000 ProStart students, a total of 13 teams from 10 high schools will compete in this event. The culinary competition runs 10:00am -1:00pm where chef judges evaluate culinary teams on taste, presentation, knife skills, and teamwork.
The management competition runs from 1:15-2:15 p.m. where teams are evaluated on their concept, marketing strategies, menu, recipes and food costs, operations, and critical thinking skills.
Winners of both competitions will be announced at the awards dinner program starting at 5:00pm. Students vie for a share of thousands of dollars in scholarships and prizes, plus, state winners will compete in the National ProStart Invitational May 2-4, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
Sponsoring organizations partnering with the Oregon Hospitality Foundation include: DoorDash, Bandon Dunes, Ecolab, McDonald Wholesale, The Grand Hotel in Salem, Salem Convention Center, Swire-Coca Cola, and Zwilling J.A. Henckels.
The following high schools / programs are scheduled to compete:
ProStart, one of the nation’s largest industry-supported career technical education (CTE) programs, teaches students lifetime skills such as communication, teamwork, time management, and professionalism while also imparting culinary skills that can help them achieve long term, successful careers in the foodservice and hospitality sector.
The Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) was formed in 1992 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association with a mission to support the workforce, educational, training, and philanthropic needs of Oregon’s hospitality industry. Its work is enabled by the generous support of partners, private donations, contracts, and grants. The foundation’s Board of Directors is comprised of respected industry professionals.
ORLA’s Education Foundation Savors Progress at a Steady Pace
“The way of progress is neither swift, nor easy” - Marie Curie
The hospitality industry may be behind others, such as healthcare, in terms of anticipating workforce challenges and creating a plan to address them. However, with growing partner engagement, we are starting to see small but steady progress this year!
One notable achievement has been the ability of ORLAEF to hire a part-time ProStart and Foodservice Workforce Liaison. Irina Bakun’s focus is to assist culinary program teachers integrate foodservice/hospitality career awareness, experiences, and connections routinely into their teaching and activities. ORLAEF’s goal is to utilize Irina’s time and experience to work directly with districts, their teachers, and industry partners to help create clear pathways and opportunities for career exploration and employment. Funding came from a grant from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.
Other encouraging progress includes;
ORLAEF’s partnership with Worksystems resulted in a pilot to use our industry’s guest service training curriculum with nine of its social service workforce training partners. The agency’s clients will learn valuable skills AND more about jobs in our industry.
Thanks to collaboration with the Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association, we have created a strong partnership with Northwest Oregon Works. The workforce development agency helped fund in-person training for prospective employees using AHLEI’s stackable credentials as well as current employees looking to upskill and advance their careers. Combined with a fall training effort, 74 industry certifications were earned.
ORLAEF is working in a pilot program with the area’s school districts, who support seven high school culinary training programs. Our joint goal is to build closer ties with local industry members and to create a model for productive and sustainable industry involvement with classes that focus on culinary and hospitality training.
We commissioned a best practices study with researchers from OSU’s Hospitality Management Program. Several Oregon businesses have implemented creative programs that have enhanced their employee retention. Watch the videos at Oregonrla.org/workforcepractices.
GUEST SERVICE GOLD ®
Since the training initiative’s launch, the course has been used by 1,833 individuals and resulted in 1,746 participants earning their Certified Guest Service Professional designation. To learn more about the course go to OregonGuestService.com.
The leadership input and support from key partners who have contributed significant in-kind and cash resources has helped extend our reach via the programs above and also includes new industry training with food waste reduction. We are grateful to sponsors Travel Oregon, Sysco Portland, Vesta Hospitality, The Salem Convention Center, Metro, Curtis Restaurant Equipment, The Old Spaghetti Factory , and The Nines for their in-kind and monetary support as well as individual donors who have generously contributed monies.
Please consider helping us continue our work by becoming a sponsor, donating, and/or becoming involved with our school programs. | Wendy Popkin, ORLEF
“Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be.” ― C.S. Lewis
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director for ORLA’s Education Foundation (ORLAEF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting the educational and training needs of the hospitality industry. Wendy is a 30+-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.” Oregonrla.org/EdFoundation
Engage en·gage | \ in-ˈgāj , en-\transitive verb
1: to offer (something…) as backing to a cause or aim… to expose to risk for the attainment or support of some end (Merriam-Webster)
WORKFORCE. Whenever you hear this word now among our industry it seems attached to another word, “lack.” Lack of recruits. Lack of skills. Lack of commitment.
Is this situation hopeless? It may seem that way to those who have not yet engaged in the myriad of ways hospitality industry partners have become involved in addressing these ‘lack of’ challenges. A few examples of partnerships ORLAEF is involved with may be inspirational!
RECRUITING AND BUILDING A PIPELINE Oregon has more than 3,000 high school students involved with ProStart. Without industry involvement and encouragement to pursue foodservice careers, the result of these students’ experience in the two-year culinary and management program could be just the memory of a fun elective course and a personal skill-builder. In many states, however, this foodservice career exploration program has become an effective pipeline for future employees.
How to engage? For example, Sysco Portland realized that its foodservice clients cannot succeed without a healthy workforce, and so have made supporting ProStart and other culinary training programs a top priority via sponsorship, mentorship, and scholarships! Learn more about their ideas by listening to a recent Boiled Down podcast, #22-The Future Workforce, at OregonRLA.org/podcast.
Engagement can take many forms. Think about an adult that inspired you, a teacher, an employer, a coach—today’s youth need mentors just as much, if not more, than previous generations. I asked Irina Bakun, a former ProStart student herself, culinary school graduate, and chef why she volunteered to mentor students who were planning to compete in our state competition. Her response was enlightening as she noted the positive effects not only for the students, but for herself.
“Working with high school students is exciting. They keep you on your feet, they really test your knowledge and communication methods. A surprising by-product is that mentoring helped me polish my training skills. From personal experience as a ProStart student on a team that had a mentor, I know firsthand that the more students are engaged with professionals the better they can understand the demands of a professional schedule, what working in a kitchen is like and the skills they will be expected to have when they leave the classroom and enter the restaurant industry. Working together can forge a meaningful bond that can create rewarding lifelong relationships,” Irina explained. “Recently, a student that I mentored three years ago called and asked for a reference. It was great to hear he was still cooking and fact that I was still on his radar and he wanted my opinion and support!”
BUILDING SKILLS “Hire for attitude, train for skill” is a popular adage. Perhaps it feels more challenging when the pipeline feels dry, however. Going to the source, worksource agencies that is, may help. Kristin and Drew Roslund, owners of the Overleaf Lodge & Spa, took a leadership role by engaging with ORLAEF and the Oregon Coast Visitors Association to create a pilot training program targeting to unemployed residents in Lincoln County. The program uses internationally accredited skill-building curriculum to help participants better qualify and prepare for work in the hospitality industry. Scholarships, funded through Travel Oregon, also pay for participants to earn their certifications as Certified Guest Service Professionals, one of our industry’s most important skills.
In Portland, Travel Portland is also seeking to take an active role in helping stakeholders with workforce challenges and invited ORLAEF to exhibit at a recent Opportunity Youth Job Fair. One result, thanks to funding from Worksystems, Inc. in Portland, is that 200 youth took ORLA’s food handler course and are now applying for jobs! Worksystems is also now committing to using the Guest Service Gold Tourism training curriculum for the hundreds of youth who are seeking skills and jobs that it serves.
INCREASING EMPLOYEE COMMITMENT Decreasing turnover can have a big effect on the bottom line. ORLAEF was curious about best practices being used in Oregon that were having a positive effective on employee satisfaction which tracked to increased commitment and retention. We commissioned OSU Hospitality Management Department’s research team to do a study to identify and interview companies that we're seeing results from innovative programs. These practices, captured via video interviews, are encouraging. Employee engagement tactics range from offering soft-side benefits, to supporting associate wellness programs, to nurturing a family-friendly company culture, to sharing leadership roles. Become inspired by viewing these videos at OregonRLA.org/workforcepractices.
Albert Einstein is widely known with the quote,“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” Tired of the hearing the same workforce “lack of” words? Engage with ORLA’s Education Foundation as we seek to support innovative solutions to our industry’s workforce challenges. | Wendy Popkin
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director for ORLA’s Education Foundation (ORLAEF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting the educational and training needs of the hospitality industry. Wendy is a 30+-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.” www.OregonRLA.org/EdFoundation
Best Practices for Reducing Employee Turnover, an Oregon Perspective
The Bottom Line. Those are perhaps the three most powerful words in any industry, but especially in hospitality where profitability margins can be paper-thin. While competitive wage, insurance, and health costs seem uncontrollable, the cost of recruiting and training new employees due to turnover can be minimized. Turnover cost savings drop to the bottom line the same as increasing sales or prices. The strategy of focusing on employee retention rates can also have a longer-term effect on overall labor costs, and the increased capabilities that veteran employees provide can positively affect guest loyalty and therefore increased profitability.
Pay Now or Pay Later. “Those managers who understand the value of employee retention and structure their organizations’ compensation systems and management practices to reinforce retention will outperform the competition… Any company that is experiencing a high degree of turnover is incurring unnecessary financial costs as well as decreases in service quality and the quality of work life.” (The Cost of Turnover: Putting a Price on the Learning Curve, The Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 2000)
Ideas That Work. ORLA’s Education Foundation commissioned Oregon State University’s Hospitality Management department to conduct research to identify and highlight organizations in Oregon who have created innovative practices that have resulted in improved employee retention. The study’s format is user-friendly and is presented as a series of short video interviews with eight companies who recognized the need to transform their view of the company’s relationship with their employees. Take a look at the videos posted on ORLA’s website at OregonRLA.org/workforce.
Todd Montgomery M.B.A, the research project’s lead, explained that they discovered a key commonality among each employer, “Leaders implementing best practices realize the current labor market and trends are unsustainable. Adapt or die, literally.” While best practices highlighted in this study range from first year engagement tactics to experiential training, and data-driven employee culture that leverages technology to mentorship programs, there were several common threads recognized among the companies interviewed. Commonalities include;
These numbers represent the average cost of turnover by position for two different hotels. The costs associated with turnover were higher than previous estimates, taking into consideration training and lost productivity due to a learning curve.
We hope that you find our new work helpful as you consider your own operations and workforce challenges you may be facing. We welcome your comments as well as suggestions for other best practice research your organization would find valuable. Feel free to reach out via email at WPopkin@OregonRLA.org | Wendy Popkin
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director for ORLA’s Education Foundation (ORLAEF), a nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting the educational and training needs of the hospitality industry. Wendy is a 32-year career veteran who describes herself as “fanatically enthusiastic about helping others enjoy the same type of fabulous career opportunities I have enjoyed in the hospitality industry.”
Nine Schools Competed in Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation’s Statewide Competition Showcasing the Hospitality Industry’s Future Chefs
The challenge for the student chefs was to prepare a three-course gourmet meal with only two butane burners in under an hour. Willamette High School pulled this off with excellence, taking first in the culinary competition at the ORLAEF ProStart Invitational, sponsored by Sysco Portland. South Salem High School placed first in the management competition, developing a concept for a new restaurant and presenting it to judges from the industry and post-secondary education.
Willamette High School’s winning menu included ricotta mascarpone quail egg ravioli, pan seared wild Sockeye salmon with a fish velouté sauce and rosemary Parmigiano-Reggiano polenta, and mascarpone vanilla bean panna cotta.
Both first place teams will head to the 2019 National ProStart Invitational® May 8-10, 2019, in Washington, D.C. on sponsorship from ORLAEF. These Oregon champions also receive a share of over $547,500 in scholarships from local and national culinary schools to help further their careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry.
“It is with great pleasure Sysco Portland is once again the leading sponsor of the ORLAEF ProStart program,” said Bobbie McDonald, Vice President of Merchandising & Marketing at Sysco Portland. “These young culinarians from our state are building skills that are foundational to their careers in the hospitality industry. This year we are extremely excited to announce the additional support of honoring two students with a scholarship to help guide them on their culinary journey.”
Final results for the culinary competition:
Final results for the management competition:
Additional awards presented at the event:
A huge thank you to all the judges for this year's Oregon ProStart Invitational! They participate because they believe in these students, and want to celebrate their successes.
Eric Aebi, Ethos Hospitality
Dori Brattain, Bread & Salt Catering
Rachel Leo, The Leo Company
Angela Miles, Travel Salem
Pat Morrill, SAIF
Paul Paz, Waiters World
Tamara Roberts, Martin North
Pat Snyder, Industry Representative
Holly Stirnkorb, Metro
Anne Walton, Zena Learning Center
Students from Cascade Culinary Institute
Hans Afshar, CEC, Bentleys Grill
Chris Allen, CEC, Food Services of America
Matthew Anderson, Ecolab
Matt Bennett, Sybaris Bistro
Ryan Bleibtrey, Sysco Portland
Barry Bowers , Pro Chefs Oregon
Kara Campuzano, Salem Convention Center
Michael Chamberlain-Torres, Hospitality by Torres, LLC
Soraida Cross, Bentleys Grill
Glenn Dettwiler, CEC, Le Mieux Foods
Andrew Farr, University Club of Portland
James Nowlan Fowler, Devil's Food Catering
Natalie Frajola, Pro Chefs Oregon
Treva Gambs, Gamberetti's
Seth Gruschow, Togather Restaurant Consultants
Sergio Gutierrez , Ecolab
Ken Henson, Pelican Brewing Company/Meridian Restaurant + Bar/Stimulus Bakery
Erik Jarvey, Ecolab
David Jenks, Sysco Portland
Kevin Jordan, Restaurant Professional
Josh Kolb, Ecolab
Sam La Duca, CHE, COCC - Cascade Culinary Institute
Douglas Lang, Oregon Health and Sciences University
Karen Malody, Culinary Options Consultancy
Tim McDonald, Food Services of America
Steve Moore, Philadelphia's Steaks & Hoagies
Ken Narcavage, Oregon Culinary Institute
Dennis Prime, Sysco Portland
Rex Robertson, Little Lois Cafe
Janel Rupp, CFSP, Performance Reps NW
Cory Schreiber, CEC, Sysco Portland
Thomas Semke, Newport Meat Pacific NW
Jay Skowron, Hospitality Defender, LLC
Samuel T. Spencer, CEC, American Culinary Federation
Mark Swenson, Shepherd's Grain
Jordan Snyder, Gecko Hospitality
David Trask, COCC- Cascade Culinary Institute
Randy Torres, CEC, Oregon Coast Culinary Institute
Brian von Eggers, CEC, American Culinary Federation
Chad Warneke, Sysco Portland
Laura Williams, CEC, Oregon Coast Culinary Institute
Justin Wilson, Newport Meat Pacific NW
Eric Wynkoop, Rouxbe
Anjali Wynkoop , Oregon Culinary Institute
High school teams from around the state will compete in statewide culinary and management competitions at Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Foundation’s 2019 ORLAEF ProStart Invitational, sponsored by Sysco. Culinary students prepare a three-course gourmet meal in 60 minutes in front of a crowd using only two butane burners, without access to running water or electricity. Management teams will develop a restaurant concept and present to a panel of judges at a simulated business exposition in the management competition.
2019 INVITATIONAL TEAMS:
Century High School, Hillsboro
Teacher: Kristi Moe
Mentor: Keith Folkestad, Old Spaghetti Factory
Culinary Team: Lauryn Richardson, Markus Cadiz, Maliya Saephanh, Marvin Madarang, Bethany Gold
Management Team: Marc Velicaria, Damon Latimer-Marquez, Anthonette Molo
Crook County High School, Prineville
Teacher: Macy Hagensee
Mentor: Doug McFarland, Brasada Ranch
Culinary Team: Tabitha Post, Samantha Bond, Mackenzie Sutherlin, Carlos Vaca, Hayden Benson
McMinnville High School, McMinnville
Teacher: Krista Carpino
Culinary Team: Bryan Lara-Barragan, Harper Eacret, Finn Reuter, Melea Wilder, Ryan Bebout
Management Team: McKenna Carlson, Ricardo Morales, Ailie Johnson
McNary High School, Keizer
Teacher: Wendy Bennett
Mentors: Irina Bakun, former ProStart student and Austin Stinson, Sybaris
Culinary Team: Madelyn Hurst, Rebecca Hall, Isaac Mallery
Newberg High School, Newberg
Teacher: Jane Eilert
Mentor: Val Daniel, Newberg School District Nutritional Services
Culinary Team: Rohan Hansen, Aiden Hansen, Sean Vriese, Jadon Lutz, Calista Mault
Management Team: Payton Madarieta, Donovan Lewis
North Salem High School, Salem
Teacher: Maryann Davis
Mentor: Alejandro Hernandez
Culinary Team: Ester Angulo, Melissa Salgado, Ashley Smith, Carmen Guerro, Josh Black
Seaside High School, Seaside
Teacher: Chelsea Archibald
Mentor: John Newman, Newmans 988 and Geoff Gunn, Pacific Way Café
Culinary Team: Gavin Meyer, Mason Shamion, Cyrus Knox, Luis Moreno, Shelby Rhodes
South Salem High School, Salem
Teacher: Laura Hofer
Culinary Team: Kristen Derting, Helen Taylor, Max Rock, Anthony Salisbury
Management Team: Samantha Martin, Connor Richman, Malachai Carter
Willamette High School, Eugene
Teacher: Martha Humphreys
Mentor: Cole Barnhardt, former ProStart student
Culinary Team: Shane Wilder, Logan Weller, Samantha Thompson, Makayla Schweitzer
Management Team: Jessica Barnhardt, Miriam Gutierrez, Taylor Woolett, Makenzie Crawford, Kacie Padilla
For more information, visit the ProStart Invitational page. If you'd like to volunteer at the event and be a judge, complete the application form or contact Wendy Popkin for more information.