Appetizer Award for Culinary Students

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The high school’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality Career Academy students Lyndsie Arcand, Jairo Alvarado, Jonatan Caravantes, Trisha Hicks and Kayla Zembrzycki participated in the New York State ProStart Invitational on Feb. 27 at upstate Schenectady County Community College, winning a best appetizer award at the state’s premier high school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts.

The ProStart Invitational is composed of two distinct competitions – management and culinary – that showcase the most important skills needed on both sides of the restaurant and food service industry. For each respective competition, students must impress judges from leading industry corporations and colleges with the skills they have developed through their ProStart classes.

The management teams develop a proposal for the next promising restaurant concept and present it to a panel of industry judges. Next, their problem solving skills are tested as they quickly solve daily challenges faced by managers.

The culinary competition highlights each team’s creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes, using only two butane burners and without access to running water or electricity. There is no room for error as they are evaluated on taste, skill, teamwork, safety and sanitation.

The East Islip culinary team produced a three-course meal consisting of an appetizer of pan-seared sea scallops and beet salad with vinaigrette dressing; an entree of pan-fried halibut over asparagus and couscous; and a dessert of apple-filled crepes topped with caramel sauce. The judges declared the sea scallop salad as the best appetizer in the competition.  

According to Career Academy Director Israel Malinowitzer, the event was the culmination of months of hard work and dedication by the students; and a great deal of leadership and guidance from teacher Patricia Emmons-Fritz, mentor and sponsor Brian Valdini of Fatfish in Bay Shore, and Cleary School faculty members Josie Garcia, Kathy Montero and Patricia Snarski. 

The East Islip team was included in a Time Warner News video clip. Click here to view.