Winners have been announced in the 17th annual Louisiana ProStart Student Invitational held recently at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation, in conjunction with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, hosted the two-day competition. Title sponsors were The Louisiana Hospitality Foundation for the culinary competition and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers for the management competition.

The culinary competition showcased the culinary and creative talents of ProStart students from 22 high schools. The management contest featured the conceptual restaurant development and marketing ingenuity of ProStart students from eight high schools.

In the culinary competition, teams demonstrated their creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course, gourmet meal in 60 minutes.

The winners were:

First place: Hammond High Magnet School; instructor, Angie Drago; students, Sara Baiamonte, Andrew Cambre, Khloe Chen, Cade Kershentine and Trenton Oliphant; chef mentor, former Hammond ProStart students Bethany Armstrong and Savannah Hall; winning menu, appetizer- egg yolk and mushroom ricotta stuffed ravioli; entrée — habanero and tamarind sticky spare ribs, apple fennel slaw, purple sweet potato puree, horseradish sauce and fennel pollen; and dessert — white chocolate Bavarian, mixed nut nougatine, blackberry jam, pink lemon sorbet and fresh blackberries.

Second: St. Charles Satellite Center, Luling; instructor, Patrick Phelan; students, Zoe Bell, Matthew Fink, Daizhan Price, Tranayshia Kenner and Katelyn Thomas; chef mentor, Eli Wilson, of Jacmel Inn in Hammond

Third: West Feliciana High School, St. Francisville; instructor, Amy Dreher; students, Blane Coley, Nick Kent, Helen Davis, Reagan Edwards and Kacey Kile; chef mentor, Daniel Dreher, of Fresh Kitchen in Baton Rouge

Fourth: Ascension Parish ProStart, Geismar; instructor, Traci Hymel; students, Sarah Chiasson, Jacqueline LeGrange, Rebecca Lilly, Jervey Cheveallier and Megan Little; chef mentor, Jordan McClellan

Fifth: St. James Parish Career and Technology Center, Lutcher; instructor: Rachael Schexnayder; students, Taylor Ferchaud, Elizabeth Springstead, Odyssey Peterson, Whitney Adams and Gretchen Borne; chef mentor: personal chef Tasha Clement

Teams in the management competition demonstrated their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by developing a restaurant concept, including the menu, design, budget and marketing strategies, which they presented to a panel of judges as an entrepreneur would pitch to a group of investors, a news release said.

Winners were:

First place: West Feliciana High School, St. Francisville; instructor, Amy Dreher; students, Lora Lathrop, Caroline Smith, Lilly Ray, Marleigh Jaenel and Amelia Percy; winning restaurant concept, Caroline’s Sandwiches and More, an airport café that offers a healthy take on a variety of America’s favorite sandwiches, wraps and salads

Second: Academy of Our Lady, Marrero; instructor, Tracie Comeaux; students, Helen Kassahun, Chelsey Termine, Hannah Mauduit, Katelynn Nguyen and Katie Warrington

Third: Hammond High Magnet School; instructor, Angie Drago; students, Kiara Smith, Olivia Bottolfs and Kearstin Foster

Fourth: Springfield High School; instructor, Carol Tate; students, Breanna Fletcher, Stephany Roberson, Jamie Moody, Shea Hunt

Fifth: North Vermilion High School, Maurice; instructor, Daphne Smith; students, Makenzi Williams, Shainie Stelly, Tommy Stelly, Jenna Boutte and Lionel Willis

Hammond High Magnet School and West Feliciana High School will represent Louisiana in the National ProStart Invitational in Providence, Rhode Island, April 27-29, where they will compete for more than $1 million in additional scholarship dollars.

Schools were also recognized for their individual achievements in various categories within the two competitions.


  • Knife Skills Award: West Feliciana High School
  • Safety & Sanitation Award: St. James Parish Career and Technology Center
  • Teamwork Award: West Feliciana High School
  • Judges’ Pick — Appetizer: St. Charles Satellite Center, ricotta, chive and parsley agnolotti
  • Judges’ Pick — Entrée: Chalmette High School, Georgia peach bourbon pork chops
  • Judges’ Pick — Dessert: Fontainebleau High School, poached pears with coffee sauce
  • Management:
  • Judges’ Award — Restaurant Concept: Donaldsonville High School "Farm Fresh Express"
  • Judges’ Award — Critical Thinking: Sulphur High School
  • Judges’ Award — Verbal Presentation: West Feliciana High School