Oregon ProStart Culinary Championship Heats Up in Portland

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High School Competition Showcases Vocational Training for Oregon’s Hospitality Industry

ProStart students representing more than 25 high schools from around the state will compete at the Oregon ProStart High School Culinary Championships on February 19, 2011. The first place team earns a trip to the 10th Annual National ProStart Student Invitational® in Kansas this spring and takes home the coveted Boyds Coffee® Culinary Cup. The statewide event – which is free to the public – will be held in Hall E of the Portland Expo Center in North Portland.

The annual culinary competition challenges student teams of four to create a three-course meal in one hour, using only two butane burners. Each team creates their own menu and is not allowed to use any prepared ingredients; every menu item must be cooked on site. Teams are judged on their successful completion of six stations including safety and sanitation, knife skills, teamwork, menu presentation, meal taste and poultry fabrication.

Teams placing first, second, and third in the overall competition will earn scholarships from various post-secondary schools. This event also recognizes the ProStart Teacher of the Year, Mentor of the Year, and Student of the Year. Several industry partners have stepped up as major sponsors for the program including: Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts as the Oregon ProStart Program Presenting Sponsor; Boyd Coffee Company as the Oregon ProStart High School Culinary Championships Presenting Sponsor; and Bon Appétit Management Company as the Oregon ProStart State Champions Sponsor. Major supporting sponsors of the event include: Oregon Culinary Institute, Art Institute of Portland and Bargreen Ellingson.

ProStart is a two-year, culinary arts and restaurant management education program for high school students. Administered by Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA), this industry-driven program brings the industry and classroom together, offering real-world opportunities through internships with chef mentors. “ProStart provides students with practical skills to prepare them for a restaurant career,” says Steve McCoid, president and CEO of ORLA. “This event is the culmination of their hard work and commitment to building their culinary and leadership skills.”

The Culinary Championship is open to the public from 8-4:00 p.m. Media passes are available by contacting John Hamilton, vice president of marketing and communications, at JHamilton(at)OregonRLA(dot)org or 971.224.1525. For more information on how to participate as an attendee or sponsor of this program, contact Jami Scott, Oregon ProStart coordinator, at 503.682.4422 or visit ORLA’s website.

The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association is the leading business association for the foodservice and lodging industry in Oregon, which is comprised of over 9,000 foodservice locations and 2,500 lodging establishments with a work force of 170,000 employees, and a total economic impact of $6.9 billion - making it the cornerstone of the economy, career opportunities and community involvement. The association works to advocate, protect, train and promote the foodservice and lodging industry.

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