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By Lisa Bielmeier
Orleans/Niagara BOCES Public Relations Director
Congratulations to the culinary arts team of students Ella Dahlhaus (Medina), Jake Muessigbrodt (Orleans County Christian School), Rylee Hallows (Royalton-Hartland), Emily Clifton (Lockport) and Autumn Windham (Newfane) who took home first place at the New York State Restaurant Association’s 2023 ProStart Competition.
ProStart is a two-year high school curriculum that introduces students to career opportunities in the restaurant industry and teaches them basic culinary and management skills.
This event was held March 24-25 at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.
These students, taught by chef James Atzrott at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center, competed against over 100 student competitors in the state, and Vermont, showing off their skills in the kitchen.
The team wowed the judges with their menu of homemade blanc formage, pan-seared trout and a dessert of sautéed pineapple. They had to prepare their three-course meal in 60 minutes using two butane burners, and without access to running water or electricity. They were judged on presentation, taste, food safety and sanitation, teamwork, knife skills, food costs and professionalism.
Ella, Jake, Rylee, Emily and Autumn will head to Washington, D.C., with chef Atzrott from May 2-4 to compete in the National ProStart Invitational against 400 student competitors in the hopes of bringing home the trophy and scholarships.