Seabreeze Culinary Academy eats McDonalds during statewide competition
The 16th-annual ProStart Culinary Team Competition easily struck the nerves of the 13 Seabreeze High School students who were competing for the first time. So much so, that they had to make a few late-night runs to McDonalds.
"It's this huge thing," said Nate Greisdorf.
"A lack of sleep," Greisdorf agreed.
"And a lot of Red Bull,'" Megan Moore laughed.
After a few weeks of recovery from their weekend of relay races and cooking deadlines, the students reminisced about the event they had been prepping for since April. Led by Culinary Academy Teacher Samantha Crouch, the team put in blood, sweat and tears to place fifth overall in the state. But don't worry, none of that fell into your entrée.
"When kids join a competition team, it essentially a job they are taking on," Crouch said. "Everything else is put on the backburner."
Held at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando and hosted by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation, the event brought in a total of 49 schools, with more than $1.4 million in scholarships distributed. 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.
The Seabreeze team also took home fourth place in the Keiser University Edible Centerpiece Competition, and second place in the Coca-Cola Company Waiters Relay Competition.
"It was a lot of time," Crouch reflected, "but so worth it in the end."