Mitchell Loyd competes at ProStart competition

By Colleen Michaels, Features editor

Mitchell Loyd prepares a sauce at the ProStart competition.

Mitchell Loyd prepares a sauce at the ProStart competition. (contributed photo)

While you were at home watching Master Chef on television, senior Mitchell Loyd was at Penn State main campus doing the real thing. On February 24-25, a group of five students from the Crawford County Career and Technical Center’s (CCCTC) culinary class attended the ProStart competition to test their stellar cooking skills. The ProStart program gives high school students the opportunity to learn about the art of cooking and restaurant management through classes and competitions. This was the first year that the culinary class at CCCTC has been ProStart certified, and they were competing to move on to the national competition in California.

With sixty minutes, two Bunsen burners, no running water or electricity and only four people, the competition really was like something on a cooking show. Loyd, along with his team (four people and one alternate), made three different delectable dishes to wow the judges who were chefs from colleges across the state.They started with a cob salad lettuce wrap on a cracker. Then they prepared chicken fettuccine alfredo with snow peas, and they finished off with a strawberry crepe topped with amaretto cream sauce.

The CCCTC team poses with their completed meal. (contributed photo)

The CCCTC team poses with their completed meal. (contributed photo)

This may sound high stress, but top chef Mitchell Loyd enjoyed the experience. “It was really nerve-wracking, but it was a great experience. Having only the two Bunsen burners and no running water was a challenge, but it was really fun.” Loyd’s team included students from Meadville, CASH and Cochranton.

There were seven teams total in the competition, including the CCCTC students, and although they did not advance to the next level, the team members gained valuable experience. “I really hope that next year’s class gets to go because it was one of the coolest things ever,” Loyd said. The advisor for this cooking expedition was the culinary teacher at the CCCTC, Mr. Lester Lenhart.

To read more about the National ProStart Invitational, visit www.nraef.org.

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