On March 28, the top 12 culinary teams and top 12 restaurant management teams traveled to Waco for the Texas ProStart Invitational State Championship. For the third year in a row, the Academy of Culinary Arts & Hospitality at Byron Nelson High School took first place in the culinary competition. New Caney High School placed first in the management competition. These two teams will represent Texas in the National ProStart Invitational at Disneyland in Anaheim in April. Culinary teams were required to demonstrate their creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in only 60 minutes. They were also judged on knife skills, chicken fabrication, and safety and sanitation. The Byron Nelson team prepared:
Appetizer Deconstructed Texas Caesar Salad: Artisan Romaine with Parmesan Snow, Herbed Anchovy Aioli and Brick Red Pasilla Dressing, Blue Corn Crusted Texas Gulf Shrimp, Black-Eyed Susan Crouton, Jicama-Fresno Confetti with Avocado Pearls and Ancho Dusted Parmesan Crisp
Entree Duo of Lamb: Herb Crusted Loin - Fennel Pollen Dusted Chop, Leek and Texas Crowder Pea Puree, Braised Fennel and Root Vegetables, Glazed Baby Carrot, Seared Squash and Fingerling Potato, Sauteed Chanterelle Mushroom and White Asparagus and Cognac, Red Currant, Veal Reduction
Dessert Chocolate Molten Cake: Guanaja Valhrona Chocolate, Meyer Lemon, Pear, and Mascarpone Gelato, Muscat Poached Bosc Pear, Raspberry Dusted - Vanilla Bean Tuile, Raspberry Coulis and Bruleed Blackberries, and Lemon and Lavender Micro Mint
Restaurant management teams demonstrated their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by developing a restaurant proposal, delivering a verbal presentation and applying critical thinking skills to challenges managers face in day-to-day operations. The New Caney team's restaurant concept is Doucette's Cajun Boathouse, a full service, family style, stand-alone, casual dining restaurant which is strategically located on a lake. The charming restaurant appears to be swept up from the middle of the French Quarter and placed in this prime location. The innovative concept brought unique Cajun offerings like Everglades Cane Juice Grilled Gator and New Orleans Style Beignets.
"As a young educator, I cannot express enough how much I love the ProStart curriculum and the experiences that Texas ProStart has not only provided my students, but myself, as well. With only three years of teaching, I am very blessed to not only have really great students who have come into my life, but a wonderful Partner in New Caney Culinary, Laura Johnston," New Caney instructor, Cherie Busch said. "Alyssa's passionate nature, Esteban's quick thinking, Brandon's level head, and Chris's entertaining presence, along with their drive and determination have brought them here. However, if it was not for the opportunities provided by Texas ProStart, these kids would not have the platform to realize their potential. I know these kids bring out the best parts of me and I have an overwhelming pride in them and their success."
State Championship Results Culinary
1st | Academy of Culinary Arts & Hospitality at Byron Nelson High School, Trophy Club
2nd | Rockwall High School, Rockwall
3rd | Carl Wunsche, Sr. High School, Spring
1st | New Caney High School, New Caney
2nd | Prosper High School, Prosper
3rd | Rockwall High School, Rockwall
Nearly half a million dollars in scholarships was awarded to members of the top three teams in both categories courtesy of Le Cordon Bleu School of Culinary Arts, Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, The Culinary Institute of America, The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes, Johnson & Wales, and Sullivan University. Saturday evening, after the awards ceremony, it started to set in and New Caney's High School Management Team Captain stopped and realized the scholarships awarded were enough to secure her goal of pursuing a post-secondary education.
Cherie continued about her students, "One of the students said 'Texas ProStart has taught me, I am more than an athlete, I am a PRESENTER.'" New Caney Management Team Member, Esteban Torrez said, "ProStart Management and NCHS Culinary has really showed me how much I love this industry. It has not just opened up roads of opportunities, it has cleared highways of opportunities for me."
The Texas ProStart Invitational was produced by the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of the Texas Restaurant Association. The Texas ProStart Invitational is in its sixth year and is the largest of the state ProStart competitions in the country with more than 350 students competing in two regional competitions. All schools competing are part of Texas ProStart, an industry-based culinary arts and restaurant management program and curriculum produced by the TRA Education Foundation. Texas ProStart is offered in 220+ high schools and reaches more than 20,000 students each year. The 2015 Texas ProStart Invitational is sponsored by Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Ben E. Keith Food Service Distribution, ECOLAB, Ace Mart Restaurant Supply, BJ's Restaurant, Chili's, Coca-Cola, Auto-Chlor, Les Dames, Texas Beef Council and Tyson. See full competition results and photos.