Crook County and McMinnville High Schools Take First in Culinary and Management Competitions at State Championships
Ten High Schools Competed in the Oregon Hospitality Foundation’s Statewide Oregon ProStart® Championships Showcasing the Industry’s Future Chefs and Managers
[March 13, 2023 – Salem, Oregon] – The culinary challenge for the student chefs was to prepare a three-course gourmet meal with only two butane burners in under an hour. Crook County High School pulled this off with excellence, winning top honors in the culinary competition at the Oregon Hospitality Foundation’s Oregon ProStart Championships in Salem on Monday. On the management side, McMinnville High School took first place, earning them a trip alongside Crook County, to Washington, D.C. to compete in the National ProStart Invitational.
“The atmosphere at this event was electric,” said Courtney Smith, ProStart Liaison/Executive Coordinator for the Oregon Hospitality Foundation. “ProStart does such a remarkable job preparing high school students with fundamental skills such as communication, teamwork, time management and professionalism needed to enter the workforce. And we saw all this at work in the competition.”
Crook County prepared Mediterranean influenced shrimp sauteed with an anchovy-caper green sauce, creamy Romesco sauce, fried capers, and Parmesan for a starter. Entrée included pan-seared pork tenderloin medallions with smashed Japanese sweet potatoes, earthy brussels sprouts with Granny Smith apple slaw, a savory black garlic and spicy red chili sauce. Dessert was a silky chocolate mousse in a crispy fried pistachio pie tee, rich blackberry sauce, vanilla bean whipped cream with crafted sugar and chocolate treats.
Additional awards presented at the event:
“As the capstone event for the ProStart career and technical education program, the championships represent the culmination of months of hard work and determination,” said Jason Brandt, President & CEO for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. “It’s incredibly inspiring to see these kids’ passion and know that we are contributing to a meaningful movement in recognizing career pathways in the hospitality industry.”
The teams from Crook County High School and McMinnville High School will head to the National ProStart Invitational® May 2-4, 2023, in Washington, D.C. to compete against the best teams from all other states, close to 400 students total. These Oregon champions also receive a share of prizes and scholarships from national culinary schools to help further their careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry.
Of the 40 Oregon high school programs, currently involving over 4,000 ProStart students, a total of 12 teams from 10 high schools competed in this event. Sponsors of the event included: DoorDash, Bandon Dunes, Ecolab, McDonald Wholesale, The Grand Hotel in Salem, Johnson Controls, Salem Convention Center, Swire-Coca Cola, and Zwilling J.A. Henckels.
For more information on the Oregon Hospitality Foundation, visit OregonRLA.org/foundation and OregonRLA.org/prostart to learn more about ProStart.
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.