Hammond High team wins cooking contest

The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation hosted the 12th annual Louisiana Seafood ProStart Student Competition on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Pontchartrain Center in Kenner.

The competition showcased the culinary and academic talents of students from 17 high schools across Louisiana in a culinary arts competition and a restaurant management competition.

During the culinary arts competition, teams demonstrated knife skills, poultry fabrication and creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes. All teams’ menus had to feature at least one of the six Louisiana seafood species.

For the sixth year in a row, the winner of the culinary arts competition was Hammond High Magnet School, led by instructor Patti Johnson and students Jacquita Jolley, Julia LaSalle, Edna Phares and Chantal Quillen.

The second-place team was Salmen High School in Slidell, led by instructor Allison Armand and students Sean Coats, Courtney Mobley, Lauren Pedeaux, Ta’Ron Rayford and alternate Shilon Callahan.

Hammond’s winning menu was: pumpkin seed and curry-crusted jumbo Anna Maria Gulf shrimp, Mardi Gras slaw, pepper bacon and Creole cane sauce with jumbo lump Louisiana crab; braised pork “Osso Bucco,” bacon jam, cornmeal-dusted goat cheese grits and lardon field greens; and Red Velvet pan “cakes,” with cream cheese icing, whipped cream, white chocolate shavings and garnished with a Ponchatoula strawberry.

Teams participating in the restaurant management competition demonstrated knowledge of the restaurant and food service industry by developing a restaurant proposal, delivering a verbal presentation, creating a visual display and applying critical-thinking skills to challenges managers face in day-to-day restaurant operations.

The winner of the restaurant management competition was Rayne High School. The second-place team was Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville, led by instructor Angie Drago and students Dylan Bernard, Mark Gravois and Graham Roth. The third-place team was Lakeshore High School in Mandeville, led by instructor Judy Achary and students Brandi Francis, Rachel Howard, Ricardo Najorro, Elizabeth Salazar and alternate, Katie Taylor.

Hammond High Magnet Academy and Rayne High School will represent Louisiana in the National ProStart Invitational in Baltimore, Md., April 19-21.