February 25, 2014 – West Des Moines, IA – Waukee High School students swept the Iowa ProStart® Invitational with a win in both the culinary and restaurant management competitions yesterday. These students have earned the opportunity to represent Iowa at the National ProStart Invitational in Minneapolis, MN, May 3-5, 2014.
Winners Will Head to Minneapolis
The all-day event took place at the Marriott Hotel in West Des Moines. Waukee students Lindsay Greifzu, Jessica Havel, Mackenzie Montross and Jenna Preston defeated four culinary teams to receive first place in the culinary competition. Students Lindsey Fransico and Esmir Sefic, as well as Havel and Greifzu, also defeated four management teams to receive first place in the restaurant management competition. Aside from bragging rights and trophies, both teams received multiple scholarship opportunities to pursue post-secondary education within the industry.
60 Minutes, 3 Courses
Culinary teams were given 60 minutes to prepare and present a three-course meal using only two butane burners. Their creations and cooking techniques were evaluated and critiqued by expert chefs.
Jessica Dunker, Iowa Restaurant Association president and CEO, said this year’s competition was intense. “The caliber of cuisine the students delivered was incredible,” said Dunker. “If they can do this with a couple of butane burners in just one hour, I can only imagine the 5 star experiences they’re capable of creating in a fully equipped kitchen.”
The students certainly felt the heat of the competition. “To prepare for nationals we need to take the judges advice to heart, “said Montross. “We need to take our level of difficulty up a notch to compete nationally.”
Presenting to Real Industry Leaders
Management teams were tasked to research and create a new restaurant concept to present to Iowa restaurant industry leaders.
“We researched successful restaurants to find trends to incorporate into our restaurant,” said Havel. “There are a few little things that we need to change to get ready for nationals, but mostly we need to practice more.”
The 13th Annual National ProStart Invitational will bring together the top ProStart students from 43 states and territories to showcase their talent, passion and skill in Minneapolis, MN from May 3-5, 2014. The winning teams will take home $1.4 million in scholarship dollars.
Iowa Restaurant Association Education Foundation
The Iowa Restaurant Association protects, promotes and educates Iowa’s hospitality industry. The Association’s education foundation is the organization’s charitable foundation. Its mission is to create and promote awareness of hospitality as a professional career path and to strengthen and improve the educational offerings, opportunities and services for the advancement of the restaurant and retail beverage industries in the State of Iowa.