The Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF), in conjunction with the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association, supports a career technical education program called ProStart. This national curriculum is available to all schools in Oregon interested in growing their culinary and restaurant management programming for high school students. The Foundation is fortunate to work with many hospitality industry mentors integrated with this program. We interviewed four of these mentors who shared their stories about how they got involved with ProStart here in Oregon and continue to inspire our students to jump into the hospitality industry.
Josh Archibald, Executive Chef, Tillamook Creamery
Mentor, Seaside High School
OHF: What motivated you to get involved as a ProStart mentor?
Archibald: I was drawn to the program for a few different reasons. I actually graduated from Seaside High School in 1999. I took a simple Home Economics class, but no further food education or hospitality courses were offered at the time. I went on to continue cooking and eventually attend culinary school, but if I had the opportunity to be exposed to a program like ProStart, it would have provided better guidance in my own career path. From an operations standpoint, we were wise enough to recognize the need for skilled restaurant labor in our local community far ahead of the curve. We knew that investing in the program and its students would be not only beneficial to our own operations, but perhaps even the restaurant community in our tourism-based, beach economy. While that was absolutely part of the decision to support the program, it also goes along with the fundamentals of cooking for a living, and we’re able to provide opportunities to teach the next generation of culinarians. One of the most valuable things about the program is that even if a student decided to pursue another career path, the lessons it teaches are good life skills that are important for a life of feeding themselves, and the people they love.
OHF: What value can someone from the restaurant industry bring to the classroom?
Archibald: I think by having access to industry experts, students can see the vast opportunities available to them in our field. At their impressionable age many think of the hospitality industry as just a hotel or pizza shop. While there is nothing wrong with that, they haven’t been exposed to much beyond their local community. Access to industry experts helps them understand our industry better, and the broad career paths offered within the field of hospitality–whether that means food stylist photographer or cruise ship concierge and all of the in-betweens. As an industry, our possibilities are endless, and giving students a glimpse into that can have huge benefits.
OHF: What experience do you have of hiring ProStart students?
Archibald: We were fortunate, especially in the years of our back-to-back state championships, to have great success in not only hiring, but retaining some of our students. It was a great way for us to source colleagues that we already had a relationship with, and in turn, who already knew us and our expectations. The timing of the tourism “season” works really well for their seasonal employment, and if they returned to the program in following years those students were already showing vast improvement in knowledge and leadership skills and became even larger assets to the program. As an industry this program can be one of our greatest solutions to continued workforce struggles as it allows us to teach, inspire, and cultivate the people that will run this industry in the future.
Chef Michael Thieme
Mentor, North Eugene High School
OHF: What were you able to bring to the classroom as an industry member?
Thieme: I bring my knowledge and experience. I’ve been a mentor working with Miho (ProStart instructor) for 19 years. And even when we weren’t in the competition, we still worked with the students on development of their skills. It’s kind of like, when we're in the classroom and we're preparing for a competition, it's more than just a competition. It’s also about how you market yourself and get your resume built. I try to get the students to do their part. It's their competition and so they need to create it and they need to build it– I just guide them and tell them where I think things are good and what we need to work on. I also try to give them a reality of what the industry is like. They learn how to be a team player and understand there's ups and downs throughout our process, so we have a lot of meetings to talk about those things and how to receive feedback.
OHF: What experience do you have in hiring ProStart students?
Thieme: I’ve hired many of them. When I was the Executive Chef at the Valley River Inn, we practiced there, and a lot of those students became employees. In fact, one of them just opened a restaurant of her own, and another just graduated from the culinary school at Johnson & Wales University on the East Coast. I've sent people all over the place and I keep in touch with them. Some of them gravitated towards management, in fact, one student worked his way up to be restaurant manager at the hotel and he continues to work in the industry to this day.
OHF: What would you say is the most rewarding part of being a mentor?
Thieme: Seeing the students grow. There are so many that come in not knowing much or anything really, except they have a desire and it's initiated. I used to tell them ‘your DNA is going to change when you go through this process. And when you come out the other side, you'll be a different person.’ Some are so shy and timid, and they don't have a lot of self-esteem. To see them come out saying, ‘wow, this was a great experience and I know so much more’ really sets them up for life and beyond. ProStart is great for the restaurant industry but it’s also great for creating and helping people get into a whole bunch of different professions. ProStart has been a great vehicle to allow me and allow the students to actually achieve some huge goals in life. Not to mention, they know how to cook, and they know how to feed themselves at the end of the day. I couldn't do this without Miho, she is awesome! It really takes the two of us.
Will Leroux, Brewmaster, Public Coast Brewing
Mentor, Seaside High School
OHF: How did you get involved as a mentor for the ProStart culinary program?
Leroux: I kind of fell into it. When I first started working in Cannon Beach, I worked with Chef John Newman, who actually taught the culinary class at the high school, and he asked me to help with the class and do some mentoring and teaching with him. John helped with the team a couple of years until he opened his own restaurant, and then he asked if Josh (Archibald) and I would do it. We actually liked going in and helping out with the kids and doing extra things, so it kind of just fell into place.
OHF: How does this program help prepare students for a job in hospitality?
Leroux: Teamwork is the biggest part of it. The thing with ProStart is that the kitchen really is a team. I played sports in high school and the teamwork part of it is having each other's backs. It's achieving something together as a group. I think the cool thing about it, is a lot of these kids aren't the athletic kids. They’re the kids that may have problems at home, where life hasn't given them a good hand of cards, you know. So, for them to be able to have something to work on with other people, and to trust other people–and us as mentors–was a big deal. That was worth every bit of it. When we prepped for the competitions, we’d try to do things that didn’t seem possible. We figured out a way to make a consummate in an hour. We made marshmallows by hand with a little hand eggbeater, just to make them see that there are possibilities and a way to do things that aren't always the norm.
OHF: What are some lessons students can learn from industry mentors?
Leroux: Leadership, accountability, teamwork and just being a good human. This was one of the highlights in my life and the fact that we were able to be successful and to share that success with those kids was pretty amazing too. The company that I work for is super, super supportive of the program as well. The class at the high school didn't have a lot of funds, so my company backed it up a huge amount, helping pay for all the food. If somebody is going to be a chef mentor, they need to integrate those kids into their kitchens. This industry can teach them a trade that they can then go out and use in their immediate adult life. Where most people would have to acquire an education in a college or trade school, these kids are able to walk out of this program and have an opportunity to get hired almost anywhere in any kitchen with skills.
Andrea Loeffler, ProStart Instructor, Forest Grove High School
Former Mentor, Tualatin High School
OHF: What motivated you to originally get involved as a mentor?
Loeffler: I was asked by a coworker of mine at the time if I wanted to take her place of mentoring as she could no longer commit. I thought it would be something I would do once and then move on, but I ended up mentoring for about 12 years. I worked with Heidi McManus where she teaches at Tualatin High School. I really enjoyed the break from the busy kitchen to just slow down a bit and get to know the students and teach them new skills. It was fun to watch the students each year learn and grow and become passionate about food. The time I spent in the classroom mentoring students prepared me for my own career change to run my own culinary program at Forest Grove High School. I would say I gained more from my mentoring experience than I ever thought possible.
OHF: How valuable are mentors in helping provide real-world experiences to students?
Loeffler: Now that I have been on both sides of this (past mentor-current teacher) I see how industry mentors help the teacher and the students greatly. Industry mentors give a real glimpse into what working in the industry is really like. Just by their drive and passion for food that they bring into the classroom, they really can get a group of students excited about food and working hard for what they want in life. It is great to share another Chef’s journey to success or skills they have to share with the students. We all took different paths to get to where we are, and I think it’s important for students to hear that.
OHF: What are some ways industry members can get involved with ProStart?
Loeffler: There are many ways industry professionals can contribute to the classroom as a mentor. Guest speakers are invited to the classroom to share knowledge on their subject area of expertise. Chefs and restaurant owners donate their valuable time and space to allow kitchen tours for students. Chefs that take the time to let students job shadow or do internships are invaluable. There is really no mentoring effort too small. Our students are excited and grateful to see, hear, and experience any knowledge industry professionals have to share.
ProStart® is a nationwide career technical education (CTE) program supported by the Oregon Hospitality Foundation that involves approximately 4,000 Oregon high school students from 40 schools around the state. Mentors provide overall support for ProStart students and help students make a real-world connection to their goals and the future. Visit OregonRLA.org/prostart for more information. | Courtney Smith, Oregon Hospitality Foundation, and Lori Little, ORLA
"Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill
AMAZING! Though pandemic challenges continue, I have been in awe of our industry partners and how you have not only ‘pivoted’ but also swiveled, spun, and inverted in order to innovate and rise above them. In the midst of all this, I feel especially grateful to the many who have given volunteer time, energy, and funding so that the Oregon Hospitality Foundation could innovate workforce, training, and philanthropy programs to help support those challenges.
Looking back over the past 17 months, below are a few highlights of what we have accomplished together so far (you can also watch our short video at bit.ly/OHFweR):
Though the last 17 months have been tougher than any of us might have imagined, I hope that you too are encouraged by these programs and what you, your teams, and our industry have accomplished via sheer tenacity and amazing innovation.
Please join me as you are able with expressing gratitude to the following, including my incredible ORLA teammates, who helped make these programs possible:
OHF Board of Directors:
Takeout & A Movie: Funding Restaurant Efforts to Feed Those with Food Insecurity
ProStart: Supporting the Needs of Oregon’s Culinary Career & Technical Program’s Teachers and Students
Providing Service While Supporting Safety Course: Assisting Hospitality Employees to Address Pandemic Related Guest Service Challenges
Dine Local Campaign: Celebrating and Supporting Oregon’s Restaurants
Restaurant Week: Honoring the Resilience & Positive Energy of Oregon’s Restaurant Industry
Hospitality Help Fund: Providing Relief From the Pandemic’s Impact on Oregon’s Hospitality Industry and Resources for Recovery
Friends of the Foundation: Supporting OHF’s Mission Work and Operational Needs
Thank you for your continuing support. | Wendy Popkin, Oregon Hospitality Foundation
ONWARD! “Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation, a nonprofit 501c3 dedicated to providing educational, training, and philanthropic support to Oregon’s restaurant, lodging, and tourism industry. Wendy is a 35+-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.” OregonHospitalityFoundation.org
A Family of Hardworking Winners
“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life." – Amy Poehler, actress
Many of us who have been around for a while refer to those in our industry as our “Hospitality Family.”
The more someone works around those who are committed to service, the more connected and inspired they themselves often become.
With the onset of the pandemic, never has the innovative spirit, business savvy, and caring soul of our ‘family’ been so challenged. Our team at the Oregon Hospitality Foundation (OHF) and the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association see the daily struggles of our hospitality business partners and have been inspired by the innovative solutions launched in response. Encouraged by these efforts to address their business’ and community’s needs, we too have initiated proactive efforts in support.
In my last article, I mentioned that the foundation’s Board of Directors took steps to strengthen our organization, including: renaming ourselves the Oregon Hospitality Foundation, expanding our mission to support philanthropic projects, launching new fundraising programs, and creating new training support appropriate to current needs.
What’s happened since?
We have received requests for training assistance with the unique guest service and communication difficulties currently being experienced because of the pandemic. In response, we are creating an online series of easily digestible micro-sessions that share
tips on how associates can provide positive service while still supporting safety protocols.
The theme, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’ focuses on helping prevent uncomfortable scenarios from escalating and causing unwelcome consequences by anticipating potential scenarios and practicing responses. Topics include;
We are grateful for a grant from Travel Oregon, sponsorship from Dutch Bros Coffee and EPB&B insurance, and our partnership with Togather Restaurant Consulting and VPW Media for their project support. We expect the series to be released in early fall. See release updates at OregonGuestServiceSafety.org.
Takeout and A Movie Fundraiser
Currently, we have raised and donated money to fourteen restaurants throughout the state who are providing a variety of solutions for helping feed those with food insecurity. Many of these restaurants are working to incorporate ongoing food support as part of their business model. Read more about these folks who are working hard to help change people’s lives by providing them with caring meals in our Champions article on page 16. You can also see a press release summary at bit.ly/OHFhelpawards. Additional awards are still available, see the application at OregonRLA.org/takeoutapp.
We also collaborated with Cycle Oregon and Filmed by Bike to present a film festival and Q&A that focused attention on the economic benefits of the hospitality and tourism industry to Oregon’s communities and now our industry’s own critical need for public support. A portion of the event’s proceeds were donated to the Cycle Oregon Fund, a grant program that supports projects including tourism and community projects particularly in rural areas.
Top of mind for many families are the myriad of struggles encountered in coping with the new demands of virtual education for students, parents, teachers, and our entire education system. We have been actively involved with discovering and creating resources for those who use our workforce training and Career & Technical Education (CTE) curriculum, such as ProStart.
One example was our partnership with Rouxbe, an online culinary school for professionals, to provide their academic resources and videos to ProStart schools on a free trial basis and later for reduced fees. We are also seeking sponsorships and grant funding that will enable us to provide online and on-demand videos to support teachers’ virtual curriculum needs. The vision is to feature industry colleagues who will highlight various aspects such as job opportunities, facility tours, career pathways, customer service techniques, new safety protocols in place, and/or offer engaging skill-building demonstrations.
Additionally, we are collaborating with Chemeketa Community College, the Oregon Coast Visitor’s Association, and the state’s workforce boards to ensure that quality hospitality training is available and accessible online, particularly for entry-level and supervisory positions. The goal is to help employees ‘hit the ground running,’ in order to reduce onsite training time needed and offer immediate value to employers.
I have yet to find the right words that portray my realistic recognition of the enormity of current challenges, particularly for our industry, nor my optimism that we will eventually recover.
However, no one knows how to work harder than our Hospitality Family, so maybe the quote below is appropriate and helps explain my optimism about the outcome of our efforts, together.
“As much as talent counts, effort counts twice.”
- Angela Duckworth, American academic, psychologist and
popular science author
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Unfortunately, looking toward the upcoming fiscal year, the foundation anticipates a 75 percent drop in revenue due to contract and sponsor funding reductions from affected partners. Your in-kind and financial contributions are greatly appreciated so that we may sustain and continue our good work. You can donate today at bit.ly/OHFDonation. Thank you. | Wendy Popkin, Oregon Hospitality Foundation
Wendy Popkin is the Executive Director of the Oregon Hospitality Foundation, a nonprofit 501c3 dedicated to providing educational, training, and philanthropic support to Oregon’s restaurant, lodging, and tourism industry. Wendy is a 35-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.” OregonHospitalityFoundation.org
Nine Schools Competed in Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association Education Foundation’s Statewide Competition Showcasing the Hospitality Industry’s Future Chefs
[March 2, 2020 - Salem, Oregon] – The challenge for the student chef teams 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, winning top honors in the culinary competition at the ORLAEF ProStart Invitational, sponsored by Sysco. McMinnville High School took first in the management competition and also swept the category awards. The event was hosted by the Education Foundation of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLAEF) on March 2, 2020 in Salem, Oregon.
“It is with great pleasure Sysco Portland is once again proud to be the leading sponsor of the ProStart program. These young culinarians from our state are building skills that are foundational to their careers in the hospitality industry,” said Bobbie McDonald, Sysco Portland, title sponsor.
ProStart, one of the nation’s largest industry-supported career and technical education (CTE) programs, teaches high school students culinary and management skills needed by restaurant, hospitality and foodservice employers. Focused on culinary techniques and restaurant management skills, this competency-based curriculum also includes real-life restaurant experiences. The ORLAEF ProStart Invitational is the capstone of this two-year program, providing a public opportunity for students to showcase what they have learned.
Final results for the culinary competition:
Final results for the management competition:
Culinary Category Awards:
Management Category Awards:
ORLAEF ProStart Invitational Awards:
“The atmosphere at this event was electric,” said Wendy Popkin, executive director of ORLAEF. “The ProStart program does a remarkable job preparing high school students with fundamental skills such as communication, teamwork, time management and professionalism needed to enter the workforce.”
Willamette High School’s winning menu included Cheese and Herb Agnolotti, Seared Halibut Blackberry Beurre Rouge, and Creme Caramel en Cage.
The teams from Willamette High School and McMinnville High School will head to the 2020 National ProStart Invitational® May 8-10, 2020, in Washington, D.C. These Oregon champions also receive a share of over $570,000 scholarships and prizes from local and national culinary schools to help further their careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry.
Currently 33 Oregon schools, with more than 3,869 students, participate in the ProStart training program. Internationally, ProStart includes 150,000 students in 1,900 schools and technical centers across the United States, and in Guam and the Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe and the Pacific.
Visit OregonRLA.org/championships more information and photos from the ORLAEF ProStart Invitational.
Rewarding Opportunities That Support Our Industry, Workforce
“Little did I know my culinary arts elective teacher... would be responsible for my graduating high school with honors, signing with my Division 1 dream team and being the first in my family to attend a four-year university…” - South Salem ProStart Student, Teacher Nomination 2019
Philanthropy takes many forms. Sometimes you can easily see the impact of giving, like when someone who was cold walks away with a smile and a bit more energy after putting on a donated coat. Sometimes, however, you never really know how your actions and engagement may have a positive influence on someone, perhaps for a lifetime.
Students who lack confidence and/or direction, as well as adults with socio-economic challenges seeking tools to help them become more self-dependent and stable, often thrive when positive role models and experiential learning are integrated with school and training programs. Interactions and reinforcements can also result in employment recruitment opportunities. When that happens with an industry partner who engages with our programs it represents the perfect wrap-around to the ORLA Education Foundation’s mission.
Why Do You Support ORLAEF’s Work?
How Can You Get Involved?
“Philanthropy means the love of humanity. A conventional modern definition is, ‘private initiatives, for the public good, focusing on quality of life.’ Philanthropy has distinguishing characteristics separate from charity; A difference commonly cited is that charity aims to relieve the pain of a particular social problem, whereas philanthropy attempts to address the root cause of the problem—the difference between the proverbial gift of a fish to a hungry person, versus teaching them how to fish.” - Wikipedia
Please join us in our efforts to teach others how to fish, via supporting your foundation’s programs that aim to provide opportunities for rewarding jobs that help individuals create stable and fulfilling lives. Contact me via email or 971.224.1105. | Wendy Popkin, ORLAEF
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
Hospitality provides an industry of opportunity! Download the illustration here.
ProStart Teacher's Education Session Fall 2019 Resources
In November 2019, Metro's Sustainability and Food Waste team gave a presentation to ProStart teachers on food systems, food waste and climate change. The following resources are made available to teachers for use in their culinary classrooms.
Plan, Shop, Chop (PSC)
In this interactive simulation, students plan and shop for a meal of their choosing and then calculate and discuss the impact when an average of 40% of food is wasted in the United States. Topics include greenhouse gas emissions, use of landfill space, and loss of natural resources, human labor, and money, as well as generating solutions to prevent food waste at home. The lesson includes optional extensions to investigate the food waste hierarchy and examine the supply chain of a common food item, the banana.
Plan, Shop, Chop Lesson:
Banana Supply Chain:
Living with Food in the 21st Century
This two-part lesson guides participants through a new story of climate change using a lens of hope, equity, community resilience, and increased quality of life. After discussing the basics of climate science with graphs and personal stories, participants will use an interactive concept map and short video series to understand the link between consumer culture and climate disruption. They will then investigate a range of individual and collective actions to combat climate change through a ranking activity with drawdown solutions and a climate justice mixer.
Additional Resources from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE)
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
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.
In November 2018 Metro's Sustainability and Food Waste team gave a presentation to ProStart teachers on food systems, food waste and climate change. Click the links to access the Metro Sustainability curriculum, presentation and additional resources.
Questions? Contact Wendy Popkin, Executive Director, ORLA Education Foundation, at 971.224.1505.
Congratulations to Bend High School and Willamette High School for taking first place in the management and culinary competitions, respectively, at the 2018 ORLAEF ProStart Invitational! See photos from the event.
Top placing teams in each category, culinary and management, received a share of the $675,000 in scholarships awarded. First place teams earned a spot at National ProStart Invitational where Willamette H.S. culinary team placed 6th out of 48 and Bend H.S. management team scored 26th out of 46!
Results for the 2018 ORLAEF ProStart Invitational in Salem, Oregon:
The event is produced by ORLA’s Education Foundation and made possible by the generous contributions of the sponsors: