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Wilbur Cross Team Places Fourth in National Restaurant Management Competition

Wilbur Cross High School placed 4th in the nation in the Restaurant Management Competition at the 2022 National ProStart Invitational May 7 in Washington, DC. The team were representing Connecticut as state champions.

ProStart is the nation’s premier high school culinary arts and restaurant management competition. Wilbur Cross joined more than 80 teams from across the country to vie for top high school culinary and restaurant management honors, as well as nearly $200,000 in scholarships to support students’ future aspirations in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

With the 4th place finish, each student received a $3,000 scholarship from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. The Wilbur Cross Management team placed 1st in 2018, 5th in 2017 and 7th in 2019. Wilbur Cross High students Charlotte Beterbaugh, Jailyn Gonzalez, Paulette Jara, Rosemarilyn Rodriguez and Erik Baca as the team manager presented the restaurant concept Sakana, a purpose driven, freestanding, contemporary casual restaurant offering only sustainably farmed seafood. Sakana, named after the Japanese word for fish, offers small plates including loaded baked clams and panko-crusted lump crab cake; entrees include the Sakana ceviche and air-fried cod and sweet chips; desserts include homemade sorbets. The team had to present their business proposal to the judges through a series of “Shark Tank” like interactions where they were asked to elaborate on their concept, menu, how they would market the restaurant and think quickly on their feet to answer a variety of critical thinking questions.

The Wilbur Cross Culinary team placed 11th out of 42 teams, the highest the Connecticut team has placed since 2009. The Wilbur Cross Culinary Team students, Daisy Galicia, Arianna Gordon, Antonio Mandania, Natalie Quiroz and Christopher Ramirez, prepared a three-course meal in less than 60 minutes over two butane burners. Their menu included a pan-seared red snapper as the starter, chicken breast and kalamata olive roulade with Mediterranean cous cous for the entrée, and exotic chocolate yuzu mango mousse for dessert. The team was judged on taste and presentation, cooking technique, knife skills, difficulty of menu and safety and sanitation.

“We take great pride in the accomplishments of students in the culinary sciences program at Wilbur Cross,” said New Haven Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Iline Tracey. “They receive excellent training, and their work demonstrates both imagination and discipline. I congratulate them and thank their teachers.”

The following sponsors have helped support the Connecticut ProStart team from Wilbur Cross High School as they traveled to the National ProStart Invitational: Subway® restaurant chain, 85th Day Restaurant Group, Performance Food Group, DORO Restaurant Group, the Hartford Yard Goats, Sysco CT, Russell Hall Co. and Sardilli Produce.