Pillager and Staples teams to compete in state culinary competition

The ProStart High School Culinary and Food Management competition is scheduled March 12 at Sysco Minnesota in Mounds View.

Students from Pillager and Staples-Motley high schools are among 14 winning teams to advance in the ProStart High School Culinary and Food Management competition scheduled Thursday, March 12, at Sysco Minnesota in Mounds View.

The Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation hosts the competition as one solution to address the workforce shortage in the hospitality industry. Now in its 14th year, the invitational features a competitive showcase of high school student teams from throughout Minnesota, demonstrating their culinary and entrepreneurial skills. The national ProStart curriculum prepares, educates and supports students interested in pursuing culinary arts and hospitality management careers.

The winner of the full-day competition has the opportunity to compete at the National ProStart Invitational May 8-10 in Washington, D.C. Scholarships are also available from numerous colleges and university programs for these students to continue their passion post-graduation.

“ProStart is a highly successful program that is a key to filling the workforce pipeline for the hospitality industry,” Liz Rammer, president and CEO of Hospitality Minnesota, stated in a news release. “We are doing everything we can to support and grow the amazing young talent shown at this annual competition.”

The culinary competition puts future chefs and food service professionals to the test, providing each team 60 minutes to prepare a three-course meal which is then judged on taste, presentation, knife skills, teamwork and sanitation. The management competition challenges student teams to develop a business proposal for a new restaurant concept judged on concept, menu, costs, operations, marketing and critical thinking.


The ProStart program is made possible through donations to the Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation, which exists to implement career-building educational programs promoting the hospitality industry as a viable career path. The foundation will provide financial assistance to help defray travel costs of the teams to the state and national competitions.

Hospitality Minnesota serves more than 2,000 hospitality businesses across the state. Formed in 1956, Hospitality Minnesota advocates for the interests of hospitality business owners and their employees and provides opportunities for education and training to grow and strengthen the industry in Minnesota.

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