Congratulations to the Culinary Arts Team at the Nantucket High School for winning the ProStart Invitational Competition on March 3, 2015 hosted at the Hill View Country Club in North Reading, Massachusetts. The Community Foundation for Nantucket is honored to hold two funds to support this program, and thrilled to see such great success come from it.
The team, led by Tom Proch, is from left to right: Antoinette Beckford, Chelsea Clarkson and Abigail Lewis. They won first place out of eight teams at the Massachusetts State Competition.
The ProStart Invitational introduces students to the hospitality field, from formulating business ideas to the culinary arts. Student teams from across the county demonstrate their business acumen and culinary skill and the winning teams earn scholarships, honors and the opportunity to compete against the very best teams from other states at the National ProStart Invitational April 18-20, 2015 in Anaheim, California.
We chatted with Tom Proch, the new Culinary Arts instructor at the high school and former head chef at The Club Car, to get the scoop on this second consecutive win for the Nantucket team.
“The competition introduces students to the hospitality field and it is not easy,” says Tom. “The teams have to formulate a three course meal and all that it entails from the measurements to the cost. Once we get to the competition, the girls are on their own with only 60 minutes and two small butane burners to produce their menu.”
The mouth watering three course menu was as follows:
Appetizer – Sliced red and golden beets layered with dill goat cheese served with an arugula mix, white balsamic vinaigrette and candied walnuts.
Entree – Pan Seared salmon with soy honey glaze, served with shitake mushroom risotto, butternut squash, yellow and green zucchini and brussel sprouts
Dessert – Almond Bavarian with chocolate ganache, raspberry sauce, fresh kiwi topped with pulled sugar.
“The judges were so impressed with the girls’ positive energy, confidence, organization, and the fact that they were having fun during the stressful competition,” reported Tom. “These qualities and Antoinette’s precise filleting of the salmon in front of the judges really clinched the win for this team.” The team will now take the accolades of winning and the judges’ critiques to the national competition in April.
Tom shares, “I love the hospitality business! My goal as an instructor is not to necessarily make professional chefs, but help the students be able to cook for their families and learn that life skill. I enjoy sharing my stories and the places I have worked and the people I have cooked for. The program and these competitions prove to these students that if they work hard they can accomplish their goals.”
We congratulate the team and Tom again for their win and wish them all the best at the national competition! Thank you for representing Nantucket so well with all you bring to the table!