Four Ben Barber Innovation Academy culinary arts students earned the opportunity to advance to the ProStart State Competition after finishing first at the district level.
The ProStart State Competition will be held in San Antonio on March 24-25. Management teams must develop a proposal for the next hot restaurant concept and present it to a panel of industry judges. They will be tested on their ability to think on their feet as they solve challenges managers face on a daily basis. This is the first time a restaurant managing team is going to state.
“It brings tears to my eyes to see them come together as a group of individuals,” Chef David Roberson said. “They are proud of each other and are excited about their work. They’ve been able to see their growth through this.”
The team is made up by Brittany Thomas, Aaliyah Abra, Sydney Toledo and Cecilia Harlen. The students will be presenting their restaurant “Mama Sou’s” at the competition. The restaurant, which will serve soul food, was created by the students, but the restaurant name was inspired from Thomas’ family history.
“A Mama Sue is a woman who rules with an iron fist,” Thomas said. "Instead of S-U-E, we put S-O-U for sous-chef.”
The girls are putting in hard work preparing for the competition by practicing the parts they will present. They are meeting three to five times after school to practice, making sure every detail of the restaurant plan is fixed.
“I feel very proud of everything we’ve done,” Harlen said. “Our book has changed a lot from the regional point, it’s gotten more condensed and more precise. Every word in there has a point. I’m very confident about what we’re creating.”
Congratulations to the Ben Barber culinary arts students.