Lewiston team advance to ProStart nationals
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Posted by: Kathleen Pierce
PORTLAND, Maine — On February 17, five teams from high schools across the state competed in a national cooking competition sponsored by the Maine Restaurant Association.
This year’s winner of the Maine ProStart Invitational is Lewiston Regional Technical Center. The all-female team rose to the top in a heated competition at Holiday Inn by the Bay. Twelve judges, including local chefs and educators, determined these aspiring chefs the winner based on a matrix of culinary criteria, from taste, creativity, artful combination of ingredients to a tidy cooking station.
Their expertly turned out three-course pork chop dinner, was prepared in one hour on two portable burners. The team practiced this meal no less than 30 times leading up to the culinary arts competition, part of the National Restaurant Association's Prostart curriculum.
“Every year the competition gets stiffer, the points score at the top gets narrower,” said head judge, David Turin of David's Restaurant in Portland, who presented the trophy. "It’s very, very difficult to choose."
Now Lewiston advances to the National Prostart competition held in Rhode Island in April, where they will compete against students in the same program nationwide. Here they vie for scholarship money to further their careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry.
Other teams competing this year were: runner up Northern Penobscot Tech Region III in Lincoln, Portland Arts & Technology School, Capital Area Technical Center in Augusta and Waldo County Technical Center.
Because Northern Penobscot Tech Region III is the only team from Maine to compete in ProStart's restaurant management competition this year, they automatically advance to the finals.
Lewiston chef instructor Dan Caron said the process of cooking under pressure prepares his students well for restaurant careers. “These kids will move up in the field, some day you’ll see them as chefs and sou chefs, these are top-notch students,” he said.