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High school culinary teams from across the state compete at Dunkin' Donuts Park

No shortage of sizzle at the stadium

HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Hospitality Educational Foundation (CHEF) and the Connecticut Restaurant Association (CRA) hosted the 16th annual CT ProStart Invitational, an industry-related competition for high school students across the state. 

Throughout the morning, teams from a variety of Connecticut high schools competed in two competitions: culinary and restaurant management.

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Teams from Wilbur Cross High in New Haven, Fitch High School in Groton, Windsor High School, and Enfield High School all took part in the day's events at Dunkin' Donuts Park “YG Club”.

The teen teams were challenged with making a three-course meal for the judges and the clock was running. 

“They are getting hands-on experience in the kitchen and access to some of the top culinary pros in the industry here in Connecticut,” said Jennifer Conkling-Schmitz, the director of the Connecticut Hospitality Educational Foundation (CHEF) 

Both from the culinary side and the management presentational side, the team from Wilbur Cross High School is a strong contender each year. Wilbur Cross won both competitions when all was said and done at Dunkin' Donuts Park's YG Club and will head to Washington, DC in early May to represent Connecticut in the ProStart national event. 

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m thankful to be able to be here,” said Natalie Quiroz, a senior on the Wilbur Cross culinary team. 

Wilbur Cross won with an entrée that featured a sautéed chicken and a Kalamata olive compliment.

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Scott Miller, an area chef and partner at the Doro Restaurant Group (Treva, Avert, Zohara, Doro Kitchen) served as one of the judges in the culinary competition. 

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"As you look around you see all of these kids really are on the top of their game,” said Miller. 

Daisy Galicia, a junior on the winning team from Wilbur Cross added, “I think this is just a big opportunity.”

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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