The Science Hill High School Culinary Arts team has cooked its way to the National Restaurant Association ProStart Invitational, a high school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts, after placing first in the statewide competition Saturday.
Science Hill students Katie Sells, Jasmine Padilla, Shelley Seaton and Angelica Locke won the Tennesssee ProStart State Championship, sending them to the culmination of culinary tournaments in Baltimore on April 19-21.
The team’s teacher and ProStart instructor, Holly Davison, said she was excited her team won the state event and is equally excited about traveling to the national competition.
“We just got so many compliments. Everybody was so positive (at the state competition),” Davison said. “We just heard some really good feedback.”
She said the group will be one of 43 teams at the national competition, versus being one of 10 they competed against at the state competition.
“Just about every state in the United States is represented. There will be a big banquet at the end and they have like a welcoming reception and just a lot of neat things going on,” Davison said.
She said she traveled to her first national competition with her team two years ago in Kansas City, and said it was also the first tournament Tennessee was represented in.
Davison said her four students prepared an Asian menu at the state competition that had to include a starter –– a salad, an appetizer or a soup –– an entrée with two sides and a dessert, and said they plan to stick to the same menu while at the nationals.
She said top-placing team members at the national competition will also receive scholarships to study culinary arts wherever they choose.
Davison said her students are excited to compete and believes they have the desire to do well at the national competition.
“Over the years you just see some (students) that just go to kind of compete and just to go somewhere and ... their heart’s not really in it, but I think this group really wants it,” she said.
Davison received the ProStart Teacher of the Year award this year and plans to retire at the end of the school year.
“To know that I’m going to retire after 35 years of teaching and that I’ve brought a winning team and ... all (of) this exciting stuff is happening ... it’s a good feeling,” she said.
For more information on the invitational, visit www.nraef.org/ProStart/Invitational.