Culinary students win third at state championship

Seaside High School's culinary arts team took third place at the Oregon ProStart High School Culinary Championships Feb. 28. Pictured, from left, are: mentor Will Leroux, corporate chef at the Wayfarer Restaurant in Cannon Beach; student standby chef Josh Porter; student chef Jose Contreras; mentor Abigail Hines, of the Wayfarer Restaurant; student chefs Celina Nicolazzi; Ian Kimbrough; Erick Mendez; and culinary arts teacher Chris Holen, executive chef and owner of Baked Alaska in Astoria.

Seaside High School took third place out of 19 teams in Oregon ProStart Culinary High School Championships.

“We’re real proud of them,” said John Kimbrough, Ian Kimbrough’s dad. The competition was hosted by the Education Foundation for the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association on Feb. 28 in Grand Ronde.

At the competition, student chefs were required to prepare a three-course gourmet meal with only two butane burners and no running water or electricity in less than an hour.

The Seaside team included seniors José Contreras, Ian Kimbrough, Erick Mendez and Celina Nicolazzi. Senior Porter Johnson was the standby team member.

Chris Holen, of Baked Alaska in Astoria, is the culinary arts teacher at the high school. The chef mentors for the team this year are Will Leroux, Josh Archibald and Abigail Hines of the Wayfarer Restaurant in Cannon Beach.

The Oregon Pro-Start state competition is “the capstone” of the two-year ProStart program, a national technical education program teaching high school students culinary and management skills. At least 36 schools throughout the country participate in the ProStart training program.

South Salem High School won first place and Bend High School won second place. Only the first-place team advances to the 2015 National ProStart Invitational in Anaheim, Calif. Seaside High School won the competition the past two years and placed fourth the year before.

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