NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A group of local high school students are moving on to a national competition after showcasing their cooking skills at the Louisiana ProStart Invitational Culinary Competition.
Hammond High Magnet School students were crowned culinary champions Tuesday inside the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.
The Louisiana Restaurant Association coordinated the annual two-day event. More than $1.4 million in scholarships were awarded to students in the top five in both the culinary and management competitions.
The funds were donated from 12 of the leading post-secondary culinary and hospitality programs in the country, including: Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University, Culinary Institute of America, Louisiana Culinary Institute and the University of New Orleans, among others.
The HHMS teens beat out more than 20 other schools to advance to the national competition in Rhode Island.
"Starting out in the square, we were nervous. Our burning didn't work at the beginning so we lost a few minutes. It's just you have to have this certain flow with everybody and know what you are doing," Hammond High Magnet student Cade Kershenstine said.
HHMS students impressed the judges with a cuisine featuring egg yoke ravioli, pork spare rib and a white chocolate Bavarian.
"These students are pairing a beloved food culture with the ProStart curriculum, which are both highly regarded," Louisiana Restaurant Association President & CEO Stan Harris said. "It is remarkable to see these students compete during this event and utilize the most important elements of being successful in the restaurant industry or any career path—teamwork, presentation skills, communications and critical thinking."