On Sunday, March 10, Laramie High School ProStart students hosted a
dinner at Altitude Chophouse and Brewery located in downtown Laramie.

The students held the dinner to fundraise for their ProStart state (and
potentially national) competition this year. Money also goes towards food
for the ProStart I and II classes at the high school.

The dinner and first seating started at 5 p.m. Tickets were sold in advance
and costed $45 per person. The event was advertised in the paper and some
students sold tickets door-to-door. About 55 people attended.

“It was a completely student run dinner,” teacher Kallie Poncelow said, “So all the food, serving, busing, and hosting was all done by students. I chaperoned and they essentially ran the restaurant for an evening. It was kinda cool because they got to do the things we’ve learned throughout the entire year, and they were able to apply them and see how a restaurant runs.”

The event required a lot of preparation and many students learned front-
house work for the first time. The dinner was a four-course meal consisting
of an appetizer, salad, entree and a dessert.

The appetizer was an endive stuffed with a salmon mousse, dill and a lemon
creme fraiche.

The salad was a mixed green salad with honey-balsamic dressing, roasted
golden beets, toasted pumpkin seeds, and goat cheese.

The entree was grilled pork loin with roasted endive and apple, fingerling
potatoes, and topped with a sweet mustard seed glaze.
To finish it off was caramel cheesecake with cinnamon apples, rum caramel
sauce, with a bit of whipped cream.

The state competition is next week and Poncelow will be taking 12 students
to compete in Casper. It consists of three events: baking and pastry, culinary arts, and restaurant management. Up to $300,000 in scholarships are offered at the event.

The baking and pastry event requires a team of 4 students to decorate a
prepared cake in one hour. The decorating is judged by five judges.

The culinary arts event is the showcase event. A team of 4 students and one
manager cook a three-course meal in one hour. No electricity is given.

In the restaurant management event students design an entire restaurant,
draw out a floor plan, write out a menu, and present to a panel of nine
judges.

The state champion team moves on to the ProStart national competition in
Alexandria, Virginia where students are given the opportunity to compete
against students from around the world and all fifty states.

“A lot goes into it. The culinary competition is kind of the highlight. That is a three-course meal in one hour with no electricity and just two camp burners. So it’s pretty hard,” Poncelow said.

Another 12 students will be going to Boulder, Colorado to compete in the
Escaffie Upcoming Chef Competition. $100,000 worth of scholarships are
available for the students. At the event, the students are given a basket of
ingredients and have an hour and a half to create a three-course meal.