Local culinary students compete in state competition. 

March 8, 2022

Local culinary students compete in state competition. 

West Shore School News is a presentation of West Shore Educational Service District in partnership with Mason County Press and Oceana County Press.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

Ten students from West Shore Educational Service District’s culinary arts program recently competed in the state-wide ProStart competition in Lansing. All three of the teams placed in the top three of their categories. 

“Students create a business plan from the ground up and try to sell it to industry professionals in a Shark Tank-like setting,” said instructor Shannon Miller. “Students participating in the Nutrition category create a kid’s meal using the MyPlate guidelines.  They have 30 minutes to cook their meal.”

The students work in a 10-feet by 10-feet space without electricity and two butane burners.  

“The judges are kids, nutritionists, dietitians, and chefs.”

In the TableTop competition, students are given an event scenario and they have to create a table scape and three menus to present to judges. 

“Overall we had a great experience,” Miller said. “The students were given opportunities to network with industry professionals and showcase their talents.”  

The culinary arts program is part of the ESD’s Career Technical Education program which is offered to high school juniors and seniors from Mason, Oceana and Lake counties and funded through a millage paid by taxpayers in those counties. It is also offered by tuition to students from Manistee County. 

Winning first place in the table top competition were a team comprised of  Mason County Eastern High School students Amelia Stewart, Marisa Bowers, Jaszmin Sabin and Trevor Oomen. 

Winning third place in the nutrition competition was a team comprised of 

Isabella Acheson, Ludington High School; Nadia Mosqueda, LHS; and Harrison Jenkins, Shelby High School. 

Winning third place in management was a team comprised of Geralyn Soberalski, Mason County Central High School; Mackenzie Larson, LHS; and Peyton Hansen, Hart High School.

“These students were absolutely amazing,” Miller said. “The competition was smaller than in past years due to COVID but the competition was fierce and they placed in all events.  They have overcome so many hurdles and have so many opportunities lost due to COVID that I was so happy we could give them this opportunity.   All of the time and effort that they put in has really paid off.  I hope to see the students who are juniors back for another year and I hope to see the seniors out there working in the industry or furthering their education to become future leaders in the foodservice and hospitality industry.”

The students were assisted by Lori LeRay who volunteered her time to the Management Team. 

“The Management Competition is intense and she has a lot of experience,” Miller said.

The National Restaurant Association and Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association have many scholarship opportunities for students who participate in the competition. 

“The students that participate are able to add that to their application which helps them to really stand out,” Miller said. 

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