The ProStart Culinary teams from the Orleans and Niagara Career and Technical Education Centers came home victorious from the Taste of Education’s yearly event at Salvatore’s in Williamsville.

The annual event, held on March 10, featured local chefs and up-an-coming culinary students across Western New York who are looking to show off their skills. The ProStart team from the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center consisted of Lillee Gollhardt (Lockport), Eve Hicks (Newfane), Josh Rastelli (Royalton-Hartland), Sarah Sornberger (Royalton-Hartland), Jada Elias (Lockport), Dakhota Little (Newfane) and is taught by Chef James Atzrott and teacher aide Darlene Harriger. They took first place for the Judges’ Choice for their menu of Butternut Squash Kibbeh with Labneh, Smoked Carrots with Lemon Tahini Yogurt, Tabbouleh, Baba Ganoush, Muhammara, Rye Berry Salad with Roasted Red Pepper Dressing, S’mores with Aquafaba Marshmallows, Vegan Chocolate Cherry Dessert Bites, Flat Bread and Pomegranates. The ProStart team from the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center took home first runner-up for the Judges’ Choice with their menu of Polenta with Mushroom Sauce, Spinach Feta Phylo Bites, Taco Bar, Beef N Broccoli with Rice, Black Bean Burger with Carrot Risotto and Chipolte Sauce, Oatmeal Cookie with Peanut Butter Frosting, Carrot Cake Cupcake and Homemade Potato Chips. That team (pictured here from left) consisted of Samantha Seely (Starpoint), Katlyn Volmer (Lewiston-Porter), Dominik Linde (Niagara Falls), Alex Stoelting (Niagara-Wheatfield), Gina Ellis (North Tonawanda) and Megan Brown (Starpoint) and are taught by Chefs Lisa Cook, Robert Ihle and Caitlin Kucharski and teacher aide, Theresa Bettinger.

This year there was also an Alumni Challenge where three iron chefs from the past competed with three student sous chefs. Chefs Alex Dispence, Darian Bryan and Arthur Pepe went head-to-head in the fast-paced one hour culinary contest. Jada Elias from the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center’s team was paired up with Chef Arthur Pepe, who is the chef instructor at the New Buffalo School of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management in downtown Buffalo and an adjunct professor of Culinary Arts at the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute. They took first place in the heated competition. Niagara Career and Technical Education student Cody Scruggs teamed up with Chef Darian Bryan, who owns and is the executive chef for The Plating Society, a pop-up restaurant in Buffalo and is a private chef. They took second place.

Orleans/Niagara BOCES could not be prouder of all our amazing young chefs and their talented and dedicated instructors. The NCTEC pictured from left are Seely (Starpoint), Vomer (Lewiston-Porter), Line (Niagara Falls, Stoelting (Niagara-Wheatfield, Ellis (North Tonawanda) and Brown (Starpoint).

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