Laramie High School students in the Prostart cooking class qualified for the national Prostart cooking competition and will compete if funding allows. 

To attend nationals, which will be held in Atlanta from June 28 to July 2, the team must send 8 students. While the students have won enough competitions to move on to Georgia, they lack proper funding and will be fundraising in the months to come.

ProStart students prepare a meal

According to Junior Francis Ruskey-Moffet, with ample fundraising, the team could still attend nationals with 5 students. However, organizing these fundraisers has been difficult as their cooking teacher Shelly McConnel has struggled to find time to organize outside of school.

Ruskey-Moffet says that if they can raise the money, it will most likely be put towards next year’s fund. Most students seem optimistic for next year because, although McConnel will not be returning to teach, a former chef, Ms. Pomelo, will be joining the culinary program for next year. “I’m excited to have someone with more real-world experience.” Ruskey-Moffet said.

To qualify for nationals, trios of students prepared differing 5 course meals at the state Escoffier competition. The top three meals at the competition would move on to nationals. An LHS team consisting of of Harrison Edwards, Francis Ruskey-Moffet, and Dawson Everson, placed third. 

The culinary prostart team attended several cooking competitions this year but the Escoffier competition was a step up for the students. Not only was it the sole competition to dictate who would make it to nationals, but it also followed a different format than previous competitions. 

At Escoffier, students were tasked with preparing five course meals with a limited selection of ingredients. Not all students were happy with the change. “It was bad. You can’t be creative at all when creating your meals and if you don’t follow the menu of food to make you get a worse score.” Ruskey-Moffet said.

Some students, including Ruskey-Moffet, plan to fundraise whether or not McConnel can organize a school fundraiser. Ruskey-Moffet also plans to work as a chef’s intern this summer to improve his cooking techniques. Some students don’t share Ruskey-Moffet’s optimism about attending nationals this year but see a win at state next year as very feasible and hope funding to go nationals will be obtainable.