Breaking News
More () »

Game on at Dunkin’ Park for teen culinary teams

ProStart Invitational celebrates student culinary competitions.

HARTFORD, Conn. — It’s a different game in winter at Dunkin’ Park in Hartford but the competition off the field brought the heat, which was the plan. Wednesday celebrated the return of the ProStart Invitational, a sort of "Top Chef" for high school students competing in a team competition. 

The competition includes two categories; Culinary and restaurant management.

For the 17th edition, ProStart teams from Enfield High School, Windsor High School, and Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven took part.

"They prepare their own menu, it’s a 3-course menu… and it’s phenomenal what they’re able to create," Jennifer Conkling-Schmitz, the foundation director of the Connecticut Hospitality Educational Foundation (CHEF) said.

Conkling-Schmitz noted that the winners in both categories move on to the national ProStart Competition held in Washington, DC in early May.

Leading her team from Windsor High was junior Aliah Acosta Mercado who said, “This is just a wonderful opportunity to use my skills in a professional level and just take feedback from amazing chefs and that’s what I love about this.” 

"This is my life, it’s my passion – my goal is to get into culinary school and just go where the World takes me from there." Enfield High School senior Eric Sirard added.

Sign up for the FOX61 newsletters: Morning Forecast, Morning Headlines, Evening Headlines

Conkling-Schmitz said the competition isn’t solely about working in a kitchen environment for the students.

"What they learn can really work for any industry and is going to prepare them for the workforce in general,” said Conkling-Schmitz.

It was close, but the team from Wilbur Cross High School placed first in both culinary and management competitions.

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


Have a story idea or something on your mind you want to share? We want to hear from you! Email us at newstips@fox61.com



Download the FOX61 News APP

iTunes: Click here to download

Google Play: Click here to download

Stream Live on ROKU: Add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching FOX61.

Steam Live on FIRE TV: Search ‘FOX61’ and click ‘Get’ to download.


Before You Leave, Check This Out