Centerville students to compete in cooking, restaurant management competition

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

Centerville High School culinary students will compete Tuesday, March 12 at the Ohio ProStart Invitational in Pickerington, Ohio for a chance to represent the state in a national competition.

15 high school culinary teams and five management teams are planning to participate. Centerville is bringing one culinary team and two management teams, which is the most teams the school has ever brought to the competition, said Centerville High School Culinary Arts Instructor Mark Mitrovich.

Culinary competition

The culinary teams will have one hour to prepare a three-course meal on butane burners with no access to electricity or running water. Mitrovich said his students were given the creative freedom to come up with their menu. They are planning to make crab cakes, a jerk pork tenderloin with plantains and broccolini and stuffed mango and blueberry crepes.

“This is a returning team, so 75 percent of the team that went last year is back,” Mitrovich said. “They have the experience and they’re having a lot of fun with it.

The students will also highlight their dishes in terms of profitability by discussing ingredients, serving sizes and costs.

“It’s a crazy, intense competition,” Mitrovich said. “It’s really something to see.”

Management competition

The management teams have come up with their own restaurant concept and will present it to five judges. They will discuss their business plan in terms of marketing, menu design, staffing and floor plan.

“They’re essentially putting together something they could take on a show like Shark Tank,” Mitrovich said.

The junior team is presenting a restaurant concept similar to Chipotle, but with West African cuisine and the senior team is presenting a Caribbean restaurant.

The last two years, Centerville won the business management competition and went to nationals.

Students doing what they love

Mitrovich said he feels a huge sense of pride watching his students compete.

“These kids are performing in a way that means something to them. This is their thing. It’s their way of expressing what they love,” Mitrovich said. “I’m really thankful that Centerville has a program that gives these kids an outlet.”

Over the years, the students that have participated in the culinary arts program are “some of the best of the best. They participate in the competitions because they’re dedicated and excited about it,” Mitrovich said.

This year’s students have been thinking about the competition since November and in the last six weeks they have practiced two to three times a week.

The ProStart Invitational is described as “the biggest interscholastic culinary competition in Ohio.”

A total of 45 industry judges including post-secondary educators, restauranteurs, suppliers and hospitality and culinary personnel from Ohio and surrounding states will determine the winners. The top management and culinary team will represent Ohio ProStart at the National ProStart Invitational in late April.

Tomorrow’s competition begins at 10 a.m. in the Wigwam Event Center, located at 10190 Blacklick-Eastern Road. The awards ceremony will be at 3 p.m.

Centerville High School culinary classes have been using ProStart as its curriculum for the last 15 years. For more information, visit

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