Lakeshore High, Hammond Magnet top winners at ProStart event

Lakeshore High School in Mandeville and Hammond High Magnet School took the top spots at the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation’s 13th Annual Louisiana Seafood ProStart Student Invitational on March 25-26 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center.

The teams will represent Louisiana in the National ProStart Invitational in Minneapolis on May 3-5. The Invitational, which showcased the culinary and academic talents of students from 20 high schools across Louisiana, had two primary components: the Culinary Competition and the Management Competition. This was the second of a multiyear relationship with the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board.

Teams demonstrated their knife skills, poultry fabrication and creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes. The menus had to feature at least one type of the six Louisiana seafood species.

Lakeshore High School won the Culinary Competition. The team, led by instructor Judy Achary, included Matthew Bertucci, Yenifer Fuentes, Alma Hagans, Tatiene Joseph and alternate, Hunter Trahan. Second place went to West Feliciana High School, whose team, led by instructor Amy Dreher, included students Elizabeth Ritchie-Fudge, Zachary Lester, Amanda Mangham and Ian Moreau. Ascension Parish- Dutchtown High School in Geismar, took third. Led by instructor Traci Martin, its team included Haley Thompson, Kyong Soo Han, Tyler Moore, Kathryn Sappe and alternate, Autumn Lee.

Teams participating in the Management Competition demonstrated their knowledge of the restaurant and food service industry by developing a new restaurant concept proposal, creating a visual display, delivering a verbal presentation to a panel of judges and applying critical thinking skills to challenges managers face in day-to-day operations. Winner of the Management Competition was Hammond High Magnet School, led by instructor Angie Drago and students Todreion Amos, Sarah Davis, Courtney Edwards, Julia Lassalle and alternate, Jemario Rheams. Its winning restaurant concept was “Take 2,” a family restaurant, serving American cuisine inspired by some of America’s favorite movies.

Second place went to North Vermilion High School in Maurice, led by instructor Phyllis Bonhagen and students Sydney Thibodeaux, Lane Broussard, Jessica Doiron, Jamie Montet and Lindsey Morris. The third-place team was Rayne High School, led by instructor Kandice Dequeant and students Phillip Broussard, Alyssa Billings and Natalie Breaux.

New this year were awards recognizing schools for their individual achievements in various categories within the two competitions. In Culinary, the Knife Skills Award went to Hammond High Magnet School; Safety & Sanitation Award, Slidell High School; Judges’ Pick- Appetizer, West Feliciana High School; Judges’ Pick- EntrĂ©e, Salmen High School; Judges’ Pick- Dessert, Mandeville High School.

The courses chosen by the judges will be interpreted and served to the guests at the LRAEF’s annual Five Star Futures Gala Aug. 2 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.

Recognized in the Management category were: Judges’ Award-Restaurant Concept, Donaldsonville High School; Judges’ Award-Critical Thinking, Slidell High School; Judges’ Award-Visual Display, Sulphur High School; and Judges’ Award-Verbal Presentation, Fontainebleau High School.

ProStart is a two-year comprehensive culinary management course for juniors and seniors in high school. Students are required to complete a 400-hour work internship.