Brandon McCarthy admits he’s terrible at sewing, but he has a collection of quilts and other sewn items. He made them in the sewing class he had to take because he wanted to be in Cheryl Meyer’s ProStart program at Milford high school. If a Milford student didn’t have enough credits in family consumer sciences course, they didn’t get into ProStart.
So, when Brandon found out he was good at cooking at the age of 10 or 12, he started early to take the classes he needed. ..even if he wasn’t good at them. Brandon figured, “If I had to make this quilt, I’m going to make sure I get into ProStart!”
Brandon Delgado grew up watching his Grandmother and Mom decorate beautiful cakes and cookies in his Grandmother’s bakery. When he entered Southwest High School, he got a job as a bus boy at the Lincoln Country Club, enrolled in culinary classes and ProStart, and signed up for ProStart competitions.
He never took first place in a ProStart Competition. In fact, he never took 2nd or 3rd place either. But he enjoyed the competitions, the confidence they gave him and what he learned from the judges.
“ProStart let me be free. It teaches you to be creative and proud of what you do. And not everyone can win”.
The new Executive Chef at Lincoln’s Venue Restaurant & Lounge has more than ten years of culinary training experience and training.
And he just turned 25.
His name is John Benton, or Chef John, and he credits landing his dream job at the Venue to what he learned in school, broad-based real world experience in restaurants, and the support he received from teachers like Lincoln Southwest ProStart teacher Sherry McCranie and hospitality industry professionals like Kim Brown of Sysco and mentor Richard Garcia, National Culinary Director- Leisure, Cultural Destinations & Unique Venues at Sodexo.
Casey Craven may be a born teacher.
He chose Culinary Arts as his field of study. But, at 22, he’s already demonstrated the essential qualities of an outstanding teacher in his role as a Lab Tech at Metro Community College’s Institute for the Culinary Arts and a ProStart mentor.
Casey attended Papillion-La Vista North High School. He took Foods 1 and 2 as a freshman and ProStart as a senior. He was a member – and served as President – of the Culinary Club where he first met Carol Fairfax, ProStart Educator.
The first time Tyler Svoboda, now an Executive Sous Chef, went to New York City it wasn’t for shopping or to see a show. He had been selected to serve as a Student Sommelier at the prestigious James Beard Foundation’s Book, Broadcast, & Journalism Awards.
Tyler, at the time, was a first-year student at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. He had taken a year and a half off to work after graduating from Lincoln’s Southwest High School, and when he decided to go to school he only applied to one school – his first choice – the Culinary Institute.
Determination. Concentration. Time management.
Those are three things Ashley Navratil says you need to win the Nebraska ProStart state competition to earn your way to the National ProStart Invitational.
She should know.
Her team has been the winner two years in a row.
They came close to winning the Nebraska ProStart state competition the first year they competed, when Ashley was a sophomore. It was the “coming close” that drove them to work harder.