Georgia Culinary High School Students Compete for a Shot at the 2017 National ProStart Invitational

By: Vivian Lett Filed under: Culinary

June 28, 2017

Culinary Arts High School Student Competition

Imagine having one hour to butcher a chicken, demonstrate five knife cuts, and use local ingredients to create a fine dining meal for two people without the use of electricity or running water. Now imagine doing this as a high school teenager in front of the best Chefs in Georgia who are known for their passion in the industry. For those students studying the business side of hospitality, imagine them having to face-off with Georgia’s top hospitality executives to prove their understanding of what makes restaurants work.

On March 3rd, 2017, The Art Institute of Atlanta hosted the 2017 Georgia ProStart and Business (BIS) Competition in partnership with the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia (HEFG). Teams from around the state came together to compete in two areas: Culinary Cook-Off (hot food competition designed to showcase the team’s knowledge of menu planning, knife skills, fabrication, as well as execution) and BIS (culinary management competition designed to demonstrate the knowledge and ability to present theoretical restaurant concepts formulated as a team). Teams were judged by industry professionals who offered feedback and critiques to help the students enhance their culinary experiences. The day culminated in an awards ceremony in which Ai Atlanta presented $12K scholarships to each member of the first place teams.  Institutional President Newton Myvett, Provost Dr. Linda Wood, and Senior Director of Admissions Phyllis Horton-Mack, who are photographed with the winning teams, along with Ai Atlanta faculty, staff, and students attended the ceremony.  According to Culinary Arts Department Chair Chef James Paul, “Students have a ton of opportunity and a lot of venues to show off their talent and passion for culinary. AiA was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Nesha Bailey-Mason, Executive Director of HEFG, to sponsor this event as the host. My team and I were blown away at the intensity of the competition and the technical precision demonstrated on the plates. The industry is in good hands with these young professionals.”

Marietta High School Culinary Management Team Winners for GA ProStart
Alumna, Dr. Chef Ginger Pratt and her students Jamon Sutton, Evelyn Garcia, Eysi Esquibel, and Nyia Garrett from Marietta HS won the BIS Competition.

Southeast Bulloch Culinary Arts Hot Food Team Winner for GA ProStart Competition
Chef Instructor Cynthia Lovett and her students Brandi Johnson, Datelyn Mason, Wil Howard, Josh Howard, and Andrew Phillips from Southeast Bulloch HS won the Culinary Cook-Off Competition.

“Across the state, management and culinary teams prepare for months to demonstrate their learning at the ProStart State Competition,” stated Nesha Bailey-Mason, Executive Director for HEFG. “The Art Institute of Atlanta was the perfect partner in showcasing these talented young professionals and preparing our winning teams to represent Georgia in the National ProStart Competition that occurred in Charleston, SC this past April. We look forward to continuing our partnership with AiA for the 2018 State Competition scheduled for March 2nd.”

Kudos to Chef James Paul and his team along with the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia, HEFG, in creating this partnership and offering a wonderful opportunity to these talented high school students.

About the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia:  

Research shows student dropouts are directly linked to a disconnect between the classroom and the real world. The Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia, a 501(c)3 founded in 1989, is dedicated to reducing dropout rates, by connecting students to the real world through mentoring, inspirational events, and college scholarships. To learn more visit

Learn more about our programs.

Get Brochure

By: Vivian Lett Filed under: Culinary

June 28, 2017

culinary culinary arts