Laramie High School’s ProStart class is preparing for a competition that will take place in Cheyenne on March 19-20. 

ProStart is an organization run by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation that teaches culinary skills to high school students to prepare them for the work force or a culinary arts school. ProStart is found in high schools in every state in the United States and parts of Europe and Australia. 

“Students with a passion for culinary arts should take this class because we cover a wide range of skills that aren’t covered in other classes. We also compete in two different competitions, ProStart state four events and Escoffier in Colorado,” culinary arts teacher Kallie Poncelow said. 

The Escoffier competition is April 3 in Boulder. The ProStart State competition is March 19-20. There is also an opportunity for the national competition depending on state placement.

At state, students decide between the categories baking, culinary and management to compete in. Poncelow highly encourages students to compete in at least one category. 

ProStart students work hard on their projects in and out of class. Their goal is to be as prepared for competition as possible. 

“A LOT of practice! We start practicing and working on dishes, cakes, and management before Christmas and spend every week till competition perfecting students’ skills and dishes,” Poncelow said. 

The competition does limit how many students can make up one group. The students in LHS compete in teams of three to five.

Each category has different rules that must be followed. All the categories must follow the given theme, stay within the time limits, have no interactions with their teacher during the allotted time and they cannot bring premade food unless the category specifically allows for it. This year’s theme is “a bright future”. 

In the Baking category you come with your frosting and cake layers prepared, they then get 45 minutes to stack and decorate their cake. 

For the management event students develop their own restaurant idea to present to the judges.

 In the culinary event you must complete a three-course meal in one hour with two campfire burners and no electricity.

“This year I will be competing in the baking category. My team will be making a two-tiered chocolate cake with a strawberry sauce and vanilla frosting. We will be painting gum paste to look like a young woman looking up to a brighter future,” sophomore Ruby Homer-Wambeam said. 

The competitions bring an opportunity for scholarships. The state competition offers $500,000 in scholarships and nationals offers eight million dollars. 

This year is the second year that LHS’s ProStart has competed in the competitions. Usually 14 students compete in ProStart state and 12 students compete in Escoffier. 

NRAEF recommends that students participate in ProStart their junior and senior years. Most of the ProStart students at LHS compete in multiple events every year, but some don’t due to the restriction of how many times a student can participate in a category at state.