The Nantucket Culinary Club has been working hard and continuing to improve in preparation for the 12th annual Massachusetts ProStart Student Invitational. The competition will be held on February 12th in Gillette Stadium. Mr. Proch, the Culinary teacher for Nantucket High School, is entering with a team of four students: seniors Michael Bartley, Malkia Blake, and Vainius Valentukevicius, and junior Sydney Higgins. The students will be competing against thirteen other high schools from Massachusetts.
In the competition, Mr. Proch explains that “you are required to make two appetizers, two entrees, and two desserts, and you have a total of 60 minutes to prepare these dishes. We practice our set menu every day so by the time competition comes these guys can do it with their eyes closed. During these competitions, there is a lot of outside stimulus going on so each student must focus and know what their jobs are.” The team has assembled a menu and practiced every day after school to get their recipes precise and prepare themselves for completing them in such a short amount of time.
Not only will each team be judged on the presentation of their menus, but also how each person carries themselves, how they dress, and how each team sets up their cooking station. The competition will be judged by an outstanding panel of chefs and guest judges. The judges include Jarvis Green, who is not only the owner of the restaurant Oceans 97 but is also a former Patriots player; WCVB Channel 5 Anchors Maria Stephanos and Tatiana Rosana; Executive Chef of the Envoy Hotel and Boston’s most recent “Chopped” champion, Tiffany Lopinsky; Boston-based blogger and Founder of Boston Foodies, Patrick Renna; CFO of Wahlburgers, Ryan Dion; and COO of 110 Grill, Evviva Trattoria.
The team hopes to impress the judges with their outstanding menu. Senior Vainius Valentukevicius commented, “our appetizer is fresh pasta with sautéed shrimp which is garnished with tomato, scallions, and basil. And then our main dish is duck breast with sautéed spinach, red cabbage, and a potato galette. Its garnished with thyme and tourneaud apples. Then for dessert, we have crepe suzette which are crepes with an orange flavored sauce. It has orange zest, mint leaves and a candied tangerine for garnish and there is whip cream on the side” They are confident that this menu will secure them a spot in the national competition.
If the group advances through the ProStart competition, they will take part in the National ProStart Student Invitational on March 8th through the 10th in Washington DC. There they will compete against 48-50 other high schools from all over the country. We hope that they will come out with a win and that their hard work pays off.
By Ruby Dupont