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SSS Excels at the NC ProStart Invitational

Two groups of students from Smithfield-Selma High School (SSS) participated in the NC ProStart Invitational on March 7 – 9, 2019 at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Each group participated in two different competitions – Management and Culinary.

The Management team was charged with developing a restaurant based on the demographics and particulars given to them from the ProStart program prior to the competition.  They designed this restaurant from the ground up, creating a name (Flippin’ Fire), catch phrase, building (old fire house), menu, design inside the restaurant, staff, marketing plan, and more.  Students worked on this plan for several weeks prior to the competition with Ms. Brenda Lillard, one of the ProStart teachers at Smithfield-Selma High School, and Chef Teddy Diggs, a recognized industry leader and the volunteered mentor for the Management team. At the competition, these students went through a series of panel judges, had to present their project several times while answering a series of impromptu questions about their marketing plan, Return on Investment, handling customer complaints, and more.

The Culinary team was charged with cooking a hors’ devour, main dish, and dessert within an hour.  Four students on the team had to memorize the recipe, prepare the ingredients for each recipe, cook the dish, set the plate, load it on a serving platter, work as a team, cook on two butane burners, and work in a small area without running water.  They were constantly evaluated throughout the hour by chefs walking around them and media filming and taking their pictures while cooking. Afterwards judges tasted their food and had a final discussion with them about their overall performance.  These students were coached by Ms. Judy Yow, another ProStart teacher at Smithfield-Selma High School, and they too worked for several weeks prior to the competition.

The Management Team competed against nine other teams, and the Culinary team against fifteen teams, all from North Carolina high schools.  Both teams were judged by several Chefs and industry leaders that had sponsored this competition.

Overall, both teams were very successful. The Culinary team finished in second place and the Management team in first place.  The Management team, now Team North Carolina, will move onto the National ProStart competition in Washington DC from May 8-10, 2019.  They again are diligently working hard to fine tune their “Flippin’ Fire” restaurant plan with the help of Ms. Brenda Lillard, Chef Teddy Diggs, and Ms. Mandy Hines (Director of Hospitality Education at the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association or NCRLA).