Charlotte – The NC ProStart Invitational was held March 7th through the 9th at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, NC. The event was sponsored by Golden Corral and featured several school teams from the area, including North Buncombe.
The North Buncombe ProStart team finished second in the management category. The restaurant concept name was “Mangiare” which means “to eat” in Italian. The restaurant was an Italian restaurant with house-made pasta. The kids had to develop the restaurant concept, style, floor plan, menu, and two marketing concepts. In preparing for the competition, they had to make and photograph menu items. They did not cook during the actual competition but gave a business pitch on the specifications of their restaurant including costing of menu items.
“At first it was very intimidating, but after practicing and working hard we were quite confident going into the competition,” said Giorgio Franzia, senior at North Buncombe. “I’m very proud of my group and very thankful for my teacher that we got to have that experience.”
“This competition was amazing! To be able to do something I love and want to do as a career is an awesome feeling. This ProStart competition just reassured me of what I want to do when I graduate high school,“ Bryson Hanrahan, a BlackHawks junior, said. Other team members were Jake Norconk, Junior, and Andres Peregrina, Junior.
“I am very proud of the dedication that these boys gave to this project. But not just because of the trophy they brought home,” said BlackHawks ProStart Coach Amy White. “They complimented and congratulated other competitors, they befriended kids from other schools and even had ‘game night’ with another school on the second night we were there. I am thankful that I get to say that they are my students! My students earned scholarship money toward several different culinary schools, including Johnson & Wales and The Culinary Institute of America.”
Other Buncombe County/WNC teams who were there were the Erwin ProStart team who finished third in management with a conceptual restaurant known as Cowgirl Creamery, an ice cream food truck focused on local cows’ milk.
T.C. Roberson finished third in the Culinary category and also had a team in management with French Broad Supper Club, but did not place. There were 10 management teams and 16 culinary teams competing. Asheville High also competed in Culinary, but also did not place.
White wanted to thank the team’s mentors and sponsors which included:
Jesse Roque – Chef/Owner of Never Blue in Hendersonville
Leslie Cunningham – The Mann Group
Chef James Lumley – Blue Ridge Dining Room at Omni Grove Park Inn
TN Contracting Services
Gillespie Lawn Care
Bullman Heating & Air
Josh & Whitney White