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Crook County HS culinary students win statewide competition, trip to D.C. for national event

Crook County High School's culinary team won statewide competition
Crook County School District
Crook County High School's culinary team won statewide competition

PRINEVILLE, Ore. (KTVZ) - Five culinary arts students from Crook County High School brought home the top prize Monday after competing in the Oregon Hospitality Foundation’s Statewide Oregon ProStart® Championships in Salem. 

Aspen Cross, Kiera Glenn, Tayah Hagensee, Sawyer McDonald, and Abbi Pack rounded out the CCHS culinary team. They prepared a three-course gourmet meal using only two butane burners in less than one hour. Their dishes included Mediterranean Influenced Shrimp, Pan-Seared Pork Tenderloin Medallions, and a Silky Chocolate Mousse for dessert. 

After their success, the team is preparing to head to Washington, D.C., for the National ProStart Invitational May 2-4.

CCHS Culinary Arts Instructor Macy Hagensee says he’s incredibly proud of his team and gives them all the credit for their dedication and practicing late after school. 

“If you get the right students together who are willing to listen and pay attention to details, then really great things can happen,” said Hagensee. “By the third practice, we were already making our time, so it allowed us to figure out ways to tweak and perfect our dishes. I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform at nationals.”

Maddy Vandewalker was named the Oregon ProStart Mentor of the Year. She’s a 2018 graduate of CCHS and competed at ProStart in 2017 and 2018. She’s currently a Special Education Instructional Assistant at Crook County High School and helped to prepare this year’s team for the competition. 

“It’s so much harder to sit and watch since I can’t help during the timed competition. Most of the work happened beforehand, so my job was to advise the current students and give them tips on what the judges will be looking for. It’s my first year as a mentor, and I’m so excited we’re going to nationals,” exclaimed Vandewalker. 

Team manager Aspen Cross said the experience was surreal: “As the manager, I had the chance to look at the other competitors, and I felt our team worked really well together. One of the judges said we ran a well-oiled machine. I’ve danced all my life and felt this competition was so unique, but I had a great time, and I’m so proud of my teammates,” said Cross. 

This award is a significant honor, as 4,000 ProStart students in Oregon represent 40 high schools. Twelve teams from 10 high schools competed in this year’s event. CCHS claimed the top culinary prize over 2nd-place Sam Barlow High School of Gresham and 3rd-place Willamette High School of Eugene. 

Championship Results:

Culinary Competition

  • 1st Place: Crook County High School
  • 2nd Place: Sam Barlow High School
  • 3rd Place: Willamette High School

Championship Participants:

  • Crook County High School
  • Estacada High School
  • Liberty High School
  • McMinnville High School
  • North Medford High School
  • Salem CTEC
  • Sam Barlow High School
  • Seaside High School
  • Taft High School
  • Willamette High School
Article Topic Follows: Crook County

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