Kansas City students gear up for national culinary competition

The Herndon Career Center culinary team is gearing up to represent Missouri at the highly anticipated National Pro Start Invitational in a few weeks. This prestigious event will bring together around 400 students from all over the country who will showcase their culinary skills in front of industry leaders and renowned American chefs. The ultimate goal for these talented individuals is to secure scholarships to the nation’s most esteemed culinary and restaurant management programs.

Herndon students have consistently achieved remarkable success in recent years. They have secured the first place at the state level every year since 2018, demonstrating their exceptional skills and dedication. Moreover, their outstanding performance extended to the national level as well, as they clinched the coveted first place at the nationals in 2018. This impressive track record exemplifies the incredible talent and determination of the students from Herndon.

According to Chef Mike Chrostowski, Culinary Arts Instructor, the student culinary competition is like the Super Bowl for them. It is considered one of the most significant competitions they will have during their high school journey. The students prepare dishes that are way beyond their level of expertise, and by the end of the night, they may feel tired and cranky. However, their hard work is greatly rewarded when they realize what they have accomplished.

The journey to nationals won’t be easy, as students will need to put in extra practice before and after school. They will focus on paying close attention to detail, perfecting their presentation, and running drills against the clock. Following strict orders will also be a priority.

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Ellyson Drake, a student at Herndon Career Center, compared their practice sessions to the cooking show “Chopped” and expressed how it made them feel.

According to Chef Chrostowski, the students will be evaluated based on their skills, presentation, technicality, sanitation, and taste.

Drake expressed his enthusiasm for the program and his aspirations to own his own bakery one day, stating, “I’ve gained invaluable knowledge during this program and I’m eager to keep learning.”

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