Two teams of students from Sioux Falls Career and Technical Education Academy are headed to the national competition in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 4th-7th after taking top honors in the seventh annual South Dakota ProStart Invitational.

The ProStart Invitational is a fast-paced event, with teams vying for state titles in a culinary division and a business management division. Nearly 50 high school students participated in the state competition, held March 27 in Pierre.

In the culinary portion of the competition, teams of students demonstrated knife skills and chicken fabrication skills. They then had just 60 minutes to prepare a three-course gourmet meal without the use of electricity. Many of the state’s premier chefs watched closely, scoring the teams on numerous factors including knife skills, presentation, taste, sanitation and teamwork.

Teams also went head-to-head in a business management competition. Students gave presentations on the steps they would need to take to start up a restaurant. In addition to presenting details about the layout, menu and pricing, they also gave a PowerPoint presentation and developed a display board with diagrams, decor samples, and menu examples. As audience members looked on, food-service professionals grilled the teams about their business plans.

The ProStart Invitational is a joint effort of the South Dakota Department of Education, the South Dakota Retailers Association, and the South Dakota ProStart Advisory Committee.