PHS Culinary Teams win double first place awards at Alabama ProStart Student Invitational

Published 8:05 pm Wednesday, March 16, 2022

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By MICHELLE LOVE | Staff Writer

PELHAM – Pelham High School Culinary Arts Team brought home two big first place wins at this 2022 Alabama ProStart Student Invitational in Orange Beach on Monday, March 7.

The competition is designed to provide students interested in food service careers an opportunity to present their culinary techniques and management skills in a fun competitive atmosphere. Nineteen schools participated in the culinary competition and nine schools competed in the management side. Pelham High School had two different teams of five students per team and each team brought home a first place prize in culinary arts and management.

Culinary had to develop a three-course meal and cook it in a one hour time limit preparing two plates of each course for judging and display. The students are also observed and judged on organization, sanitation and professionalism during the cooking phase.

The culinary team included Avery Fuller, Ashlyn Johnson, Lexi Mugovero, Huy Hoang, and Nancy Solis and was led by Chef Doug Allen, the culinary arts teacher at PHS.

Management had to develop a food service concept from physical layout, color scheme, menu and marketing strategies, then present the idea to judges as a potential pitch to investors. They were then put through a question and answer portion. The judging criteria covered presentation, the response to judges questions and concept feasibility.

The management team included Melissa Arambula, Joseph Salazar, Brian Salazar, Fayez Thorpe and Keilani Wheeler.

Pelham High School won first place in the culinary competition last year as well, but this is the first time they participated in the management category, and Alex Arceo, the other culinary arts teacher from PHS, was the lead on this effort.

The top winners in the culinary and management events are crowned the state champions and receive multiple scholarships. In May, the first place winning team for both culinary and management will represent Alabama at the national level in Washington, D.C. This event is made possible with support from the industry.