Jordan High’s ProStart, FCCLA students shine bright at state contests
Jordan High’s Prostart team prepares food at the state completion, where they placed fifth. (Danette Holley)
Imagine preparing sliced watermelon and goat’s milk cheese, topped with a lime cucumber mint salad and a strawberry balsamic glaze in one hour under the pressures of the state contest. If that’s not enough, the meal also included preparing pork medallions with creamy lemon garlic sauce and grenadine poached pear with vanilla bean sauce in that hour time limit.
Sounds challenging, but that was just what Jordan High School’s ProStart team of Jillian Holley, Shantel Fernandez, Tabbie Romano and Amy Willis did, taking fifth place in the state. Preparing a different meal earlier in the year, the team took third in region.
“We were so happy how they did at region and they were so excited to go to state,” said Shauna Young, Jordan High foods and nutrition, culinary arts and ProStart teacher and adviser. “At state, they performed their best and everything turned out.”
ProStart, a two-year, nationwide program that develops the high school chefs into future restaurant and foodservice leaders, encourages participation through the annual competition.
However, the contest wasn’t simply turning on the stove and start cooking. Students begin in the fall, brainstorming, searching the internet, magazines and cookbooks for recipes they could prepare in the time limit. As the competition grew closer, students were spending about 30 hours per week preparing, Young said.
“They also had to prepare the food and cook it without electricity, bringing in all the equipment and food they needed. They also had to calculate how much each dish cost,” she said.
Their dinner they prepared for state totaled $46.97.
Jordan’s student chefs also were busy participating in the FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) culinary events. In late January, two Jordan High teams competed at the regional contest in Vernal, where one team walked away as region champs and the other was placed in the top five.
“The competition is different than ProStart. In FCCLA, they are given three possible menus to prepare so they can practice those beforehand. Then at the competition, one is chosen and they have one hour to prepare the three dishes — a salad, a protein and a starch,” she said.
Young said the teams are judged on preparation, planning and job assignments, presentation, taste, time limit and sanitation.
The two-member winning team, Jillian Holley and Shantel Fernandez, were invited to compete at the state championships. They also were on the ProStart team.
“They were super excited and as seniors, pleased to compete at state since it’s their last chance to compete there. It’s been awhile since Jordan took first, so we’re thrilled,” Young said.
At state, the team didn’t disappoint. The duo won silver medals.
The three students who took fifth at region also were invited to help educate other FCCLA projects at state, so they gained from that experience, Young said.
Other winning Jordan High FCCLA state competitors include freshman Marian Wintercorn, winning gold in the Illustrated Talk contest while freshman Akayla Love took silver; seniors Carlee Culberson and Mikayla Smith, both taking silver in Environmental Ambassador category; and senior Aylin Urbina picking up the bronze medal in the Focus on Children contest.
FCCLA is a nonprofit national career and technical student organization for young men and women in family and consumer sciences education in public and private school where students explore a variety of youth concerns, including teen pregnancy, parenting, family relationships, substance abuse, peer pressure, environment, nutrition and fitness, teen violence, and career exploration. Involvement in FCCLA offers members the opportunity to expand their leadership potential and develop skills for life — planning, goal setting, problem solving, decision making, and interpersonal communication necessary in the home and workplace.