By Cassandra Wulff

The ProStart class at Laramie High School gives students an opportunity to grow and develop skills in the kitchen focusing on the fundamentals of culinary arts.

The teacher of ProStart One and Two is Kallie Poncelow.

ProStart One focuses on the fundamentals of culinary arts. Students work on knife skills and make many different dishes. This year they will make sauces, soups, stalks and meat dishes.

Students will learn how to plan and complete a full course meal on their own. In addition, they will learn food safety and proper sanitization.

ProStart One will teach students the basics and help them in the future to prepare high end, restaurant meals.

ProStart Two focuses on more advanced techniques and skills. Students will learn to work with more difficult flavors and prepare more sophisticated dishes.

“We look at food from other countries and apply flavor and techniques to classic French dishes or styles,” Poncelow said.

There are 17 LHS students in ProStart One and seven students in ProStart Two.

“My favorite part about this class is we get to work with a wide variety of dishes rather than just baking or just cooking,” student Charly Miller said.

Before students can enroll in ProStart, they must pass baking one and an additional culinary class of their choice. They can take International Foods or Cooking on Your Own.

It is not an option to test into this course.

The students learn about cooking, but also serve the community. The LHS ProStart students complete two community projects a year.

This year, students made cookies for the swimming and diving state meet. This helped raise money for the class to buy cooking supplies and ingredients.

Before coronavirus, the students paid a fee to enroll in the class. This year, they are fundraising.

Due to the coronavirus related policies, there is now a limit on the number of labs they have this year. The students also work individually, rather than in groups.

Both ProStart One and Two are yearlong classes unlike the beginning culinary classes which are only one semester.

Near the end of the year, these students can attend a competition. This gives the students an opportunity to show off their culinary skills.

There are multiple categories that the students can sign up for, such as baking, cooking and management.

“I am looking forward to the competition we will have later this year,” Miller said.

This week in the kitchen, the students are making chicken fabrication and chicken stock.

They are also working on another assignment they can complete online. Each student will research a chef and find out how they have changed the food industry and how they have made a positive impact.

They will also research a food or a dish of their choice and learn more about it.

This is a well-rounded course where students will acquire skills not only in cooking and baking, but also in the safety, preparation and history of food.