Over the past several years, the Passaic County Technical-Vocational Schools’ Culinary ProStart Program has garnered national attention. The team, consisting of students from the PCTI School of Culinary Arts, has finished in the top four at the National ProStart Invitational two years in a row. The program also has twelve 1st Place Awards in NJ state competitions, and just added a thirteenth to their accomplishments.
Led by the 2021-22 ProStart New Jersey Educator of the Excellence and PCTVS School of Culinary Arts instructor Ron Ossi, these dedicated students arrive on campus at 5:30am four days a week and relentlessly practice and drill their challenges for almost two hours before school starts. Mr. Ossi commented, “These enthusiastic students are focused, dedicated, confident and extremely detailed in their work. This year we had extra help from our amazing PCTI Class of 2020 School of Culinary Arts graduate Mya Organisciak, who worked as a mentor throughout training and the competition. Currently we are prepping for our National ProStart Invitational which takes place in May in Washington, DC.”
This year the PCTVS team, comprised of senior Alexa Urteaga, junior Dava Wozniak, and sophomores Isabella Macaluso, Salma Garcia, and Joshua Chacon, created an appetizer of sticky pork belly over cheddar polenta, an entrée of seared duck breast with Dijon peppercorn sauce, and a delicious blueberry white chocolate mousse for dessert.
The ProStart program is a nationwide, two-year high school program that reaches approximately 130,000 students in more than 1,700 high schools across 50 states. The National ProStart Invitational (NPSI) highlights each team's creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes, using only two butane burners, and without access to running water or electricity. Students are evaluated on taste, skill, teamwork, safety, and sanitation.
Congratulations to this year’s New Jersey State Champion PCTVS ProStart Culinary Team and good luck in Nationals!
The PCTVS ProStart Culinary Team from left to right - 2020 PCTVS graduate and mentor Mya Organisciak, Alexa Urteaga, Dava Wozniak, Isabella Macaluso, Salma Garcia, Joshua Chacon and 2021-22 ProStart NJ Educator of Excellence Ron Ossi.
Appetizer of sticky pork belly over cheddar polenta, created by PCTVS ProStart Team
Entrée created by the PCTVS ProStart Team - seared duck breast with Dijon peppercorn sauce.