In my mind a culinary chef is a rock star. Honing their craft for years after learning basics in their home kitchen to some of the finest restaurants in the country. And that is exactly what is taking place right here in South Dakota.

Seanna Regynski of the South Dakota Retailers Association reports that teams of students from high schools across our state will compete for scholarships and recognition at the 12th Annual South Dakota ProStart Invitational March 11-12 at the Highland Conference Center in Mitchell.

The competition tests students on culinary, restaurant management and cake decorating knowledge and skills. I had the opportunity several years ago to judge this competition and the experience is incredible.

The state ProStart Invitational provides an opportunity for students to put to the test all of the skills they’ve developed in the classroom. It is composed of two main areas: culinary and restaurant management. It also includes a cake decorating competition.

ProStart teaches business skills such as customer service, overhead, inventory, business math, food safety and sanitation, along with impressive culinary skills that will last a lifetime. ProStart is a viable pathway to success and lays down a strong foundation for students.

Winners of the state competition will move on to the National ProStart Invitational in Washington, DC.

The ProStart Invitational is a joint effort of the South Dakota Department of Education, the South Dakota Retailers Association and the South Dakota ProStart Advisory Committee.