Waterloo West Culinary Team wins trip, competes at nationals - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waterloo West Culinary Team wins trip, competes at nationals

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Chopping, whipping and frying, Waterloo West High School's ProStart Culinary Team has skills in the kitchen many of us can only dream of.

In one hour, with limited resources, the team of five students presented a three-course meal to the judges at the National ProStart Invitational in Providence, Rhode Island last week.

"We made a seven beat trio for our starter. Our main course was a bacon-wrapped, seared beef tenderloin with a premium lump crab cake on top with a hollandaise roasted red pepper sauce, and a root vegetable sauté. For dessert, a trio of mouse petit fours. We had a raspberry mouse, a pineapple passion fruit mouse, and a chocolate mouse," said Team Captain, Grace Vandersee.

For the last four years, Waterloo West's ProStart team has won state competition and represented Iowa at the prestigious national competition.

For the students, it's an eye-opening experience and, perhaps, the beginning of a career in the industry.

"I joined the culinary team and, now, I absolutely love everything about the food industry; the people, the culture, and everything about it," said Vandersee.

From 54 teams at nationals, the West team was selected to take an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas to meet with industry professionals.

"We will get to meet with industry professionals, both in front of and back of the house in hospitality. They are going to make big connections that will last a lifetime. Maybe it will spark something they hadn't thought about yet," said Tracy Hulme, West High School Culinary Teacher.

Out of 1,700 teams nationwide, only 54 teams qualified for nationals.  The West team finished 33rd.

The culinary program is one of soon-to-be nine career and technical education programs at Waterloo Schools.  This fall, a 9th program, sustainable construction, will be added to the curriculum.

The district is also working on a multi-million dollar renovation to Central Middle School, where most of the programs are held.

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