Leesville has introduced a new repertoire in their culinary classes this year, Prostart, which focuses on restaurant management and culinary arts. In just its first year, Prostart has already taken huge steps.
Recently, they were asked to be included in the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Rally, an annual event where people can meet with local legislatures to discuss issues with the food and hospitality industry.
Mr. Palombit, Prostart teacher, said via email, “I accepted the offer because I knew this would be an amazing experience for my students to learn and apply their skills and to network with leaders in the foodservice industry.
The class picked three hors d’oeuvres– pecan pimento cheese with assorted crackers, black-eyed pea dip with tortilla chips, and mini corn muffins filled with shaved turkey and cranberry mayo– that would be served at Big Ed’s in downtown Raleigh. Preparations were done in class before the event and five students were chosen to go downtown and cater the rally.
“We got to go into the kitchen and finish making our dishes. Then, we set up a table, introduced and served our food,” said Danielle Ocampo, senior.
The Prostart program has opened many opportunities for students interested in culinary careers.
Palombit said, “In addition to classroom instruction and hands-on cooking labs, the program encourages building skills and knowledge through an internship component, on-the-job experience, and mentoring relationships.”
This opportunity at Big Ed’s really allowed students to get a sense of what working in a restaurant would truly be like.
“I really enjoyed it. It made you realize what it takes to work in a kitchen and gave me more of a feel for what I wanted to do later in life. I had a lot of fun and it was a great experience,” said Ocampo.