Culinary programs in our high schools are some of our most popular Career and Technical Education courses with students.

We’re fortunate to have outstanding chefs teaching these programs, as demonstrated by McNary, North Salem and South Salem high schools’ success at the last month’s Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association Education Foundation ProStart Invitation.

The ProStart Invitational includes a culinary competition which is similar to the TV show Iron Chef. Teams of students prepare a unique menu while racing against the clock. The meal must include a starter, an entree and a dessert.

Chef Wendy Bennett’s team from McNary High School won Second Place in the culinary competition. Along with their team win, McNary’s Chef Mentor Irina Bakun won the ProStart Mentor of the Year Award! And McNary students earned $18,250 each in scholarships from culinary schools across the country!

McNary Culinary April 2019

The McNary High School menu included a Fresh Oregon-Inspired Salad Roll starter, Sesame Crusted Local Steelhead for the entree and Coconut Sticky Rice Pudding for dessert.

Chef Maryann Davis’s team from North Salem High School took Third Place in the culinary competition.

North Salem also won the Teamwork Award and the Sanitation Award in the Culinary Category. Students won a total of more than $60,000 in scholarships from culinary schools across the country!

North Salem Culinary April 2019

The North Salem High School menu included a Crab Stack starter, Salmon Neptune for the entree and Tuxedo Crepes for dessert.

Chef Laura Hofer’s team from South Salem High School won First Place in the Management Team Competition. They developed a new restaurant concept and presented it to a panel of judges in a business environment, sort of like the TV show Shark Tank.

Because they took First Place, students on the South Salem team won a total of over $200,000 in scholarships from culinary schools across the country!

South Salem now moves on to the National ProStart Invitational May 8 through 10 in Washington D.C.

In addition, Chef Hofer won the Oregon ProStart Educator of the Year award, which includes a trip to Washington D.C. to compete for National Educator of the Year!

South Salem Culinary April 2019

Congratulations Culinary programs, teachers and students on your amazing success! Keep up the great work, and best of luck to Chef Hofer and South Salem students at Nationals.