Glen A. Wilson competes in ProStart Culinary Competition

Yet another new subject has taken hold of many high schools across Southern California, and it has something to do with what you eat. Culinary is a fairly recent addition to many curriculums across the state, and this week, Wilson competed in the ProStart Culinary Cup in Long Beach. 

From March 7th to March 8th, twelve members from our school competed in a series of events that tested the different skills needed when working in a professional kitchen. The categories included a management section, which required competitors to design a restaurant concept, two sections to select choice toppings for a baked potato and a hot dog, and the main competition in which competitors are asked to assemble a three-course meal with an hour of cooking time. 

During the main competition, groups of three competitors are given twenty minutes of time designated for preparation, such as gathering ingredients or washing vegetables. After that, one hour is given to cook, assemble and plate a three-course meal, consisting of an entrée, a main course, and a dessert.  

Carla Islas (12), a participant in the main competition highlights how the competition taught her certain skills. 

“I learned to communicate better with my team and to manage my time better,” she says.  

Team Rokkit hurries to finish their dishes as time runs out during the Prostart Culinary Cup. Photo by Isaias Santiago.

Another competitor, Valerie Vazquez (11) details her experience during the two-day event. She mentions how the competition was a memorable experience that she had the opportunity to experience with friends. 

“The memorable experience of the competition was just getting to be with a great group of people and try new things, laughing and having fun,” she notes.  

Vazquez also goes on to share which skills she picked up from the experience. 

“I learned a lot, I was able to learn patience and work on my communication. I think that it was a positive influence since it helped me gain a new experience, and I had a great time,” she adds. 

Olivia Tu (10) also participated in the main competition and explained her thought process throughout the event.  

“My experience overall was really good, I really had fun and it was cool to be able to participate in the competition,” she states. 

Though not everything went according to plan, Tu still kept up the pace. “As for expectations, I was expecting it to go smoother than it actually went, but I think we did really well, even though there were some mistakes made.”  

Tu continues to explain how she felt about her team’s preparation, as it really benefited her performance during the competition. 

“I feel as though we need some more improvement, but the progress our team made was impressive. Our experience has increased with the practice we have all been working so hard, and it definitely paid off.”   

Currently, the results from the competition have not been released. Placement aside, Wilson’s participation in this competition signals a greater focus in another range of subjects, outside the usual academics, and it paves the way for a new category of subjects available to students. Wilson had begun to offer the culinary arts pathway a few years prior, and the program has expanded to include new classrooms, equipment, and now a chance to compete in outside competitions. 

All in all, the competition proved to be a wonderful learning experience for the participants. After all, real-world experience is fundamental to the core of learning.

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