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East Ridge High wins first place in culinary competition

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation (FRLAEF) is proud to congratulate the winners of the 18th Annual ProStart Culinary Team Competition which was held Saturday, March 3 and Sunday, March 4, 2018 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando.


A total of 50 schools participated in the competition with 15 schools winning top awards throughout the day’s events. East Ridge High School in Clermont (pictured at right), led by instructors Cathleen Ryan, Tony DeViERHS Culinary Students ncenzo and Vincent Pesce, won first place in the overall competition. Tarpon Springs High School in Tarpon Springs took home second place in the overall competition, with John A Ferguson Senior High in Miami placing third.


More than $1 million in scholarships was distributed to the winning schools. All winners and participants are a part of Florida’s ProStart program, a career technical education program where high school students learn from an industry-derived curriculum that teaches culinary techniques and restaurant management skills. More than 20,000 students from across the state are enrolled in the program. The four main event competitions included: the Johnson & Wales University Culinary Competition, The Art Institutes Management Competition, the Keiser University Edible Centerpiece Competition, and the Waiters Relay Competition.


“These talented students represent the future of Florida’s hospitality industry and we are extremely proud to help support their education by awarding more than $1 million in scholarships. We are passionate about investing in these inspiring, young leaders of the trade and are thrilled to celebrate their incredible talents and pursuit of successful careers,” said Carol Dover, President & CEO of the FRLA.


In the Art Institutes Management Competition, participating teams demonstrated their knowledge of the restaurant and food service industry by developing a business proposal for a new restaurant concept. The business proposal consisted of a defined restaurant concept, supporting menu, and supporting marketing plan. Teams prepared a comprehensive written proposal, verbal presentation and visual display. 


East Ridge High won 1st Place in the Management category. The ERHS Management team will be heading to Providence, RI, on April 26-30 for the national competition.


In the Johnson & Wales University Culinary Competition, which was part the March event, participating teams demonstrated their creative abilities during the competition through the preparation of a meal consisting of a starter (such as soup, salad or appetizer), protein (meat, fish or fowl), starch, vegetable and dessert. 


East Ridge High won 3rd place for Gourmet Cooking. 


In the Waiters Relay Competition, participating teams demonstrate their ability to set a table with the designated table setting and napkin folds while racing against the clock. South Lake High School, led by instructors Candance Huxhold and John Thunberg, won 1st place in the Waiters Relay, and Lake Minneola High School, led by instructors Nick Sandora and Lance Bowles, won 5th place in the Waiters Relay.