Culinary Arts Program: Success through ProStart

At New Castle Career Center (NCCC), the Culinary Arts program offers high school students a comprehensive culinary education through its affiliation with ProStart, an industry-driven chapter of Family, Career, Community, Leaders of America (FCCLA). ProStart focuses on culinary arts and restaurant management, providing students with hands-on experience and real-world skills.

Under the guidance of ProStart-certified Instructor Chef Robin Boucher, NCCC Culinary Arts students engage in various competitions throughout the year, including Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry events. At the beginning of the program, students are elected for their FCCLA/ProStart Chapter positions and hold monthly meetings during which they plan projects, menus, and competition teams.

Every year in the springtime, students from NCCC Culinary Arts participate in the Indiana FCCLA/ProStart State Leadership Conference. At this event, students compete in various categories, such as cooking, baking, culinary math, restaurant management, and hospitality.

2024 Indiana FCCLA/ProStart State Conference Awards

On March 1, culinary arts students attended the 2024 Indiana FCCLA/ProStart State Conference at the Horizon Convention Center in Muncie, Indiana. Several students competed in the ProStart FCCLA Invitational and were awarded silver and bronze medals for their projects.

Among the winners were:

  • Silver Medal in Baking: Sophie Williams and Cora Bales
  • Silver Medal: Team Red members Malayla Trennepohl, Isaia Gardner, Sophie Williams, and Landon Hicks
  • Bronze Medal: Team Blue members Jesse Williams, Maleah Golob, Lily Abernathey, and Cora Bale

“My students love the creativity they get in the culinary competition,” expressed Chef Boucher. They have to create a menu, execute the menu items in one hour with just camp stoves (no electricity at all), and cost out all the recipes. It is essentially a mini restaurant.” While Prostart offers different industry competitions, like Culinary Math, Management, and more, the NCCC Culinary Arts program concentrates on culinary and baking.

The ProStart Baking and Pastry Competition is a solo contest in which students must produce a quickbread, cookies, choux pastry, and decorate a cake within two hours. Timing and scientific knowledge are crucial in baking.

ProStart is an excellent platform for Indiana students to connect with other ProStart peers statewide. Chef Boucher said students enjoy visiting the Ivy Tech Muncie campus, as it hosts their dual credit program. This exposure lets them preview their future college campus, staff, and classes.

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