The Orleans/Niagara BOCES ProStart Culinary team cooked their way into first place at the 2015 Taste of Education at Salvatore's Italian Garden Restaurant. The team members were Kashiya Hogue (Niagara Falls), Wyatt Roberts (North Tonawanda), Tyler Mule (Niagara Falls) and Ray Delucci (Niagara-Wheatfield).
The event, hosted by the New York State Restaurant Association's Western New York chapter, raises money for scholarships to support local culinary students in the National ProStart Culinary Competition.
The theme of the evening was Global Cuisine and the students, who are taught by Bob Ihle at the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center, dazzled the crowd and judges with their chicken cordon bleu, paella, chicken paprikash, potato pierogi, Polish sausage, Shrimp Fra Diablo, chocolate mousse, tiramisu and nut strudel. They competed against high school teams from the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center, Carrier Educational Center and Hewes Educational Center of Chautauqua.
Ray Delucci was also tapped to play sous chef to Iron Chef competitor Cody Casiglia of Empire Suites in a 60-minute fundraiser competition against Bryan Mecozzi of Black Iron Bystro and Jon Wilson of Ralph Wilson Stadium and their student sous chefs. Cody and Ray walked away victorious with first place.
"The Iron Chef win was great," Ray said. "It showed me that I can be great if I work hard. You have to be dedicated to what you love and it feels great that it is starting to pay off."
The ProStart team will be competing at the New York State Invitational at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park, New York, March 13 and March 14, for a chance to win scholarships and move on to the Nationals.