PIERRE – Teams of students from across South Dakota put their culinary and hospitality management skills to the test at the 12th annual South Dakota ProStart Invitational, held March 18 in Mitchell. Brookings High School took the top prize in both the culinary division and the business management division, earning them a spot in the national ProStart competition in Washington, D.C., May 8-10. 

Culinary team members are Kylee Heaton, Myranda Syhre, Yaritza Carmona Gonzalez, Stephen Heesch and Cassandra Whitaker. Business management team members are Abby Enevoldsen, Angela Lansang and Alexis Rodriquez. 

Both teams competed under the direction of instructors Megan Jaquet and Joline Dunbar. 

The ProStart Invitational is an intense, fast-paced event where students demonstrate skills in food preparation and safety, hospitality management, public speaking, and other valuable job skills. 

ProStart is a joint effort of the South Dakota Department of Education, the South Dakota Retailers Association and the South Dakota ProStart Advisory Committee. 

“ProStart is a great opportunity for high school students to learn culinary and hospitality management skills applicable in an array of businesses, from restaurants to hotel management,” said SDRA Executive Director Nathan Sanderson. “This is real-world career preparation at its finest.” 

In the culinary portion of the competition, teams of students demonstrate knife skills and then have just 60 minutes to prepare a three-course gourmet meal without using electricity. Many of the state’s premier chefs serve as judges, scoring teams on numerous factors including presentation, taste, sanitation and teamwork. 

Teams also compete head-to-head in a business management competition. They present on the steps needed to start and operate a restaurant. In addition to presenting details about the concept to one set of judges, a second set of food-service professionals evaluate the teams’ business plans. 

Participating schools included Aberdeen Central A-TEC, Brookings, Huron, Madison Central, Mitchell CTE Academy and Mobridge-Pollock.

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