Gloucester High Wins Virginia ProStart Invitational

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The Virginia ProStart Student Invitational (VPSI)
was held Friday and Saturday at Holiday Inn Central in Richmond. The high school competition was organized by the Education Foundation of the Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association (VHTA) and featured a potential pool of over $500,000 in culinary scholarship money for the participants on 13 culinary and management teams from 10 high schools. VHTA’s education manager Rebecca Reamer coordinated and produced the event. The big awards went to the top three teams in the two competitions. VPSI once again provided students an opportunity to network with their career path peers from other schools as well as gather information from the  colleges participating in the college fair at the competition.

Schools donating scholarships included the Art Institute of Washington, Baltimore International College, Culinary Institute America, Culinary Institute of Virginia, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, JNA Institute of Culinary Arts, Johnson & Wales University, Stratford University and New England Culinary Institute.

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Gloucester High School from the Chesapeake Bay Region won the culinary competition with their “smoked” oysters Rockefeller, Thai-style lobster tail and white chocolate cherry bread pudding. The team’s instructor is Dane Macan and included Patrick Stickney, Kody Middleton, Josephine Jimenez, Denton Brandy and Matthew Plewinski. The winning management team is from Manchester High School and is located in the Midlothian community of unincorporated Chesterfield County, Va. Instructor Pam Sloan coached the team of Ozzie Seshie, Casie Whorley, Alexa Smith, Sherrie Daniels, and Alissa 

Both winning teams qualified to participate
in the National Prostart Student Invitational (NPSI) on April 24-26 in San Diego. ProStart from National Restaurant Association Solutions is the career-building program for high school students who are interested in culinary arts and foodservice management. Over two years, ProStart students experience classroom study, mentored work experiences, and local and national competitions.

Christopher Savvides, chairman of VHTA and president of Black Angus Restaurant in Virginia Beach, participated in the awards ceremony.

Next up on the NPSI calendar is the Maryland competition (MPSI) on March 4 at the Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt. LaDeana Litchfield, Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation, has over twenty schools lined up for the culinary competition. The Restaurant Association VPSI 28 0209VPSI 31 0209Metropolitan Washington Education Foundation has their competition scheduled MarVPSI 27 0209ch 14 at Roosevelt High School in Washington.

Let me do my shout out to friends I saw yesterday … Marisa Marcey is an admissions representative for Johnson & Wales and a passionate advocate for education and all things good in culinary and food … always great to see John Maxwell chef extraordinaire from the Culinary Institute of Virginia and Tammy Brawley, chef/owner of The Green Kitchen and one of my fans from my food and wine demo at the Virginia Wine Festival in September. I thought it was particularly special to see LaDeana make the trip to Richmond to help her Virginia counterpart … and like those who always have a tear or two of joy to shed at weddings, LaDeana couldn't help it when she lived the emotion of the moment at the awards ceremony with a few tears. It's that kind of celebration for the future of foodservice.

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About the Author

Michael Birchenall is Editor and Publisher of Foodservice Monthly, a regional trade publication covering the foodservice industry of the Mid-Atlantic (DE, DC, MD, VA). Foodservice Monthly has been recognized as the Restaurant Association of Maryland's Allied Industry Member of the Year and by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington as the Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year.

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