Students in Mary Anne Birt's culinary arts program at Area 30 Career Center credit her for their success at the ProStart Invitational in Indianapolis.
"Everything she taught us paid off at the competition," said culinary program student Kayley Mathers.
The group added the experience was "overwhelming, exciting and stressful." Teams participating in the culinary competition demonstrated their creative abilities through the preparation of an appetizer, entrée and dessert in 60 minutes with only two gas stovetops.
The management competition highlighted participating teams' knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by presenting business proposals defining a new restaurant concept, its menu and marketing launch.
The invitational was a learning experience for the students, as they met with judges for valuable feedback on the culinary and management events.
"The judges were not just judges," said Mathers. "They were there to help you."
In addition, industry and academic leaders interacted with the students, helping fuel their passion for the culinary industry and the opportunities available within it. The Area 30 students were also given the chance meet local chiefs.
"It was inspiring to meet them," the students said.
Since January, the students have prepared for the competition. They were rewarded for their efforts by placing in several categories. While most of the students agreed cooking is what they want to do with their lives, they spoke very highly of Birt and Stephanie Hurt, an extern with Ivy Tech State College.
"I am very proud of us," said Birt with a smile. "They are giving me goosebumps."
Held in March, the rigorous competition brings together teams of ProStart high school champions from around the state to compete for state titles, as well as scholarships to help fund their college education.
The Area 30 students said the competition taught them the value of teamwork and communication.
"We had to be there for each other and talk to each other," one student said.
The following is a list of the Area 30 culinary arts awards and students who placed in the ProStart contest:
* ProStart/Family Career and Community Leaders of America, Inc. career display -- Heather Berens and Lacey Crawford, first place; Erica Wheeler and Shellie Perisho, second place; and Emalie McClain and Cyril Darrel, third place
* ProStart/FCCLA best appetizer -- Anthony Lewis, Katie Lasiter, Dylan Harrison and Amanda Carpenter and alternate Joey Moy
* ProStart/FCCLA culinary competition -- Kayley Mathers, Shannon Knoblett, Courtney Deal and Collette Rogers, third place overall
In addition to the medals and trophies, students received two $500 scholarships.