While prep basketball enters the crunch time of state tournament season, a different kind of high school competition will be going down this weekend. Instead of a basketball court, this arena will be the Sacramento Convention Center where local high school culinary teams will go head-to-head on Sunday and Monday at the 10th annual California ProStart Competition. The teams come from a smorgasbord of area high schools: San Juan, Cordova, Madison, Cosumnes Oaks and Whitney. In a series of culinary competitions, the teams will have one hour to prepare a three-course meal. Then, they have to wow a judging panel that includes Molly Hawks (Hawks Restaurant), Taro Arai (Mikuni), Tony Marcell (Wafare Tavern), four certified master chefs and more. There's also a separate management contest, in which teams are required to propose a restaurant concept including a menu, marketing plan and design elements.
A whole bunch of cash prices and scholarships are at stake for the students. $12,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to students, teachers and schools, along with a whopping $348,000 in scholarships for winning teams.
Sunday's culinary competition is free and open to the general public. Look for the culinary competition to begin and 10 a.m. and wrap up at 5 p.m. Awards will be handed out Monday afternoon. Good luck, and let's see who's high school cooking team reigns supreme.