Maize Career Academy wins ProStart Culinary Invitational

The+Maize+Career+Academy+team+pose+for+a+picture+with+their+first+place+trophy.+They+will+now+train+to+compete+in+Nationals+in+May.
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Maize Career Academy wins ProStart Culinary Invitational

The Maize Career Academy team pose for a picture with their first place trophy. They will now train to compete in Nationals in May.

The Maize Career Academy team pose for a picture with their first place trophy. They will now train to compete in Nationals in May.

The Maize Career Academy team pose for a picture with their first place trophy. They will now train to compete in Nationals in May.

The Maize Career Academy team pose for a picture with their first place trophy. They will now train to compete in Nationals in May.

Savannah Horn, Reporter

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The Maize Career Academy team poses for a picture with their first place trophy. They will now train to compete in nationals in May.

The Maize Career Academy’s culinary arts class took first at the Kansas ProStart Invitational Culinary Competition on March 7th at the Hilton Hotel. The culinary team of five girls had only one hour to cook their appetizer, entree and dessert. The group competed against 18 other Kansas schools and was judged on the quality of their cooking, presentation of the food and sanitation.

Junior Michaela Birkholz was one of the students who competed on the team.

Judges are walking around while we’re cooking, and they’re judging us, and after we’re done they go back into a room and they eat it [our food] and you have to leave, then you come back in later and they give you feedback,” she said. “They really liked the appetizer and the entrée, and they liked how we executed everything.”

ProStart is sponsored by the National Restaurant Association and was created to help give students opportunities that may not be in traditional foods programs.

“The students got a lot of scholarships, and being a part of a team was really good for them and important,” culinary arts teacher and winner of the ProStart teacher of the year in Kansas award Cara Poole said. “We had the best set of people. Everything was solid. We didn’t lose any of the little points. The recipe costing was spot on, the safety and sanitation, the teamwork, the skills critique.”

Multiple judges review the culinary team and the management team. The management team created a business proposal for their restaurant with the costing, marketing, menu and employees of the business. They presented for about 20 minutes to judges who have jobs in marketing. The management team also won first in their competition.

I cried like a baby,” Poole said. “I was a proud mom. We spend so much time together. The girls jumped five feet in the air screaming.”

Birkholz said her team was elated to win the competition.

“Everyone started crying and jumping up and down,” she said. “I just stood there because I was so shocked.”

The team will now compete in Washington, D.C. for Nationals on May 8th. Poole said she hopes the team’s strong performance can help show how the program benefits its students.

“Most people work in the industry at some point,” Poole said. “I think it’s important for people to see it’s more than the cashier at a fast food place, and sometimes people still think of us as the ‘Home ec class.'”

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