View the
2012 Invitational
Printed Program

View Our Photo Galleries:

General Coverage

Culinary (by team):
Elk River
Forest Lake
Sauk Rapids-Rice 1
Sauk Rapids-Rice 2

(by team):
Elk River
Sauk Rapids-Rice

Did you know?
Minneapolis will host the 2014 National ProStart Invitational!
Back to HMEF
Contact HMEF


 Elk River and Sauk Rapids-Rice High Schools Take
Top Honors at Minnesota’s 2012 ProStart Invitational

Teams from Elk River and Sauk Rapids-Rice high schools took first place honors in the culinary competition and management competition respectively at the sixth annual HMEF Sysco ProStart Invitational, sponsored by the Hospitality Minnesota Education Foundation and Sysco Minnesota. The event, held March 1 in St. Paul, showcased the cooking talents and business skills of high school students enrolled in the ProStart program at their schools. Both winning teams advance to the National ProStart Invitational, scheduled for April 27-29 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Elk River takes the top prize in the
culinary competition

Elk River's winning entree
Culinary Competition

Each of the competing culinary teams had one hour to prepare a three-course meal using two butane burners. They were judged on teamwork, sanitation, menu presentation and taste, as well as knife skills. Nine teams entered the culinary competition, but due to inclement weather, the team from Indus High School in Birchdale near the Canadian border was unable to make the trip.

The first place team from Elk River High School prepared a meal of Walleye Mousseline on Daikon Slaw, Garam Masala Lamb Chops with Coconut Polenta Cake and Vegetables with a dessert of Banana Sabayon. Team members include Emily Coomer, Stephanie McGuire, Tori Newbauer and Josh Walbolt. They are coached by teacher Kathy Ellefson.

Placing second in the culinary competition was Sauk Rapids-Rice’s Team #1, which includes students Joel Bungert, Desirae Menden and Candyce Thompson. They are coached by teacher Mary Levinski. Hopkins High School placed third, with teammates Nora Bonner, Alec Cash, Mary Mobley and Amanda Young and instructor Gayle Durand.

Individuals receiving honors for knife skills during the culinary competition were Emily Coomer of Elk River and Lexi Johnson from Sauk Rapids-Rice. Both received a high quality set of knives, courtesy of Dexter-Russell, Inc.

Sauk Rapids-Rice wins the
management competition

Management Competition

Teams in the management competition developed a proposal for an original restaurant concept based on guidelines specified by ProStart. Students shared written and oral presentations with judges, as well as a visual display on their concept’s menu, décor, price structure, marketing plan and other considerations.

The first place team from Sauk Rapids-Rice High School developed a concept for “City Scape,” a fine dining downtown destination restaurant. Team members include Lexi Johnson, Desirae Menden, Candyce Thompson and Beth Zwilling. They are coached by teacher Mary Levinksi. This marks the fifth year in a row the school has taken top management honors.

The second place team from Elk River High School includes Katrina Dufresne, Sam Mackner and Josh Wabolt. The team is coached by teacher Kathy Ellefson. Placing third was the team from S.T.E.P. (Anoka Hennepin District 11) with team members Courtney Bloom, Jocelyn Bloom and Shauna Peterson and coach Marjory Humbert.

Thank You To Our Judges!

Serving as judges for the two competitions were nearly two dozen highly respected chefs, restaurateurs and culinary instructors:

Culinary Judges:
Tom Kavanaugh–Kavanaugh’s Sylvan Lake Resort (Head Judge)
Todd Bolton–Parasole Restaurant Holdings
David Burley–Blue Plate Restaurant Co.
Jim Doak–Culver’s
LaVonne Kucera–Caribou Coffee
Michael Larson–Parasole Restaurant Holdings
Jamie Malone–Sea Change
Tim McCarty–Mayo Foundation
Tim McKee–La Belle Vie
Don Pappas–Hubbell House
Thomas Pivec–Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge
Steve Shapley–Le Cordon Bleu 

Management Judges:
Michael Autenrieth–The Art Institutes International Minnesota (Head Judge)
Jim Benson–Grand View Lodge
Cathy Bovard–D'Amico
Donna Fahs–Parasole Restaurant Holdings
Bill Gannage–Sysco Minnesota
Randy Jernberg–Famous Dave’s Franchise Partner
Barney Klecker–Normandale Community College
Tim Murray–Murray's Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge
Nathan Nadkarni–Normandale Community College
Corey Sax–Pizza Lucé
Jill Skogheim–5-8 Club








Hospitality Minnesota
305 East Roselawn Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55117-2031

Call: (651) 778-2400
Fax: (651) 778-2424