Twenty-eight teams of Missouri ProStart Culinary High School students and eight teams of Missouri Management High School students competed Friday, Feb. 15, at the annual Missouri ProStart Competitions.

The event was held at East Central College in Union.

The first-place team in the culinary competition was Glendale High School from Springfield and the first-place team in the management competition was Mark Twain High School from Center. Both teams will be traveling to Baltimore, Md., on April 19 for National Invitational.

Washington High School tied for third place with Blue Springs High School in the culinary contest. The WHS instructor is Karen Fixsal. Team members are Sabrina Hall, Ashley Garrard, Amber Ernst, Sam Chapman and Sierra Wagner.

Missouri ProStart is a culinary and hospitality management program for high school students that join classroom time with “hands-on” hospitality industry experience.

Currently operating in 100 high schools across the state and enrolling over 5,700 students, the Missouri ProStart Program is the third largest in the nation.

As a gold sponsor at the competition this year, the Missouri Beef Industry Council provided these students and those enrolled in Family and Consumer Science (FACS) classes with the opportunity to experience cooking with beef.

Kaity Holtman, director of communications for the Missouri Beef Industry Council, said this event is an important one to sponsor year after year.

“We’ve been involved with the ProStart competitions for a few years now, and that’s a great way to provide culinary students the opportunity to cook with beef,” Holtman said. “Many of these students plan to go on to professional careers as chefs or restaurant managers, so giving them the skills in and love of cooking with beefallows us to build relationships that will benefit the beef community down the road.”

Over 200 students participated in these challenging events where teams of student chefs prepare meals demonstrating their high-level culinary skills comparable to those of professional chefs.

Students participating in the management portion of the competitions are required to design a restaurant from the ground up including restaurant and menu design, recipe costing and menu pricing as well as staffing and marketing.

The annual competition, which is jointly sponsored by the Missouri Restaurant Association and the office of College and Career Readiness, a Division ofFamily Consumer Sciences and Human Services within the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, provides student teams an opportunity to showcase their passion for food with their love of cooking or their in-depth knowledge of restaurant design and management.

Students, educators, mentors and coaches prepare throughout the year for this statewide contest in hopes of moving on to the National ProStart Invitational competition in April.

This year’s competition was judged by certified executive chefs from across the state as well as culinary arts and hospitality management professors from the top university and college programs in Missouri.

The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products.

States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.

More information about the beef checkoff and the Missouri Beef Industry Council can be found at