Wilbur Cross Takes 5th At ProStart Invitational

The Wilbur Cross management team placed fifth out of 43 in the National ProStart Student Invitational held recently in Charleston, S.C.

The event is hosted by the National Restaurant Association and two teams—one representing management skills and the other culinary skills—had to demonstrate not only their cooking ability but their ability to design a restaurant concept from A to Z.

Read below what their coach, Chef Nathaniel Bradshaw had to say about their win:

National Restaurant Association “What an emotional and rewarding last couple of days the Cross management and culinary team has experienced.

Our students did a fantastic job at representing New Haven and Connecticut at the National ProStart Student Invitational. There were over 400 students competing—representing 90 teams. They are the best of the best from each state, and every state hopes that their name is called. Only the top five teams in each category are called to the awards stage, and the management team shocked the country when they won fifth place.

Our students, representing Wilbur Cross High School, made it to the top 5 out of 43 teams. The kids really enjoyed competing and meeting other students from across the country. Not only did they win fifth place, but they also were the first team to represent New England on the awards stage at these national competitions, beating out many states that have won these awards several times in the past 16 years.

These amazing students could not have achieved this great recognition without the support from you, the loving and supportive staff of Wilbur Cross High School. As one judge commented to us about our management team and presentation, “I was incredibly proud to see [Connecticut] finish fifth and to cross the stage. It has been a privilege to judge your team the last three years and to see the improvement year-over-year is a real testament to your support of your students.”

I would like to personally thank the team, Lisa Lapidus, Anthony Latella, Anthony Sansone and the Culinary and CTE departments for their constant devotion and support to this program. A special thanks for their constant love and support throughout the year goes out to our mentors representing The Union League Café family, Robin Vuillermet, Cheri McKenzie and Chef Jean-Pierre Vuillermet. Lastly, a humungous thanks to Jennifer Conkling-Schmitz, the Connecticut National Restaurant Association representative, for her commitment to this team over the last several years.

I am so proud of these students that words cannot express exactly how I am feeling. Please stop these kids, Jessica Rose, Janaisha Taylor, Autumn Durrant, Jovon Alston and Samantha Rodriguez in the hall and congratulate them on their fabulous achievement. Please congratulate the culinary team, Genesis Padilla, Luis Gulindo, Kyle Sundland, Naicha Aguayo and Coty Gueye, who finished 22nd out of 48 teams. These kids worked all year on their dishes and skills, cooking with all their heart and soul on Saturday. We look forward to your continued support as we gear up and push forward into the 2018 competition year.”

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posted by: Renewhavener on May 3, 2017  9:25pm

Well done Cross. 

In terms of prep for 2018, am curious who among the NHI readers in the culinary space will step up to help mentor this group.

Very interesting article from the Post & Courier regarding the competition on that topic:
http://www.postandcourier.com/blog/raskin_around/michigan-ohio-teams-take-titles-at-national-prostart-invitational/article_66a3b264-2d8c-11e7-836b-b34ddce90d2d.html

Said Miles Huff, one of the competition’s judges, from the article:
“It’s all about the mentor, and what the mentor knows”

Separate comment regarding prior competitors helping their teams prepare here:
https://www.chooserestaurants.org/Blog/April-2015/former-prostart-students-mentor-teams-at-npsi

Now, I’ve never been to Middleburg Heights Ohio, and no disrespect to the Cleveland burbs but am having a tough time swallowing that they have a better food scene than NH.  Maybe just one that is more generous with their time?