DES MOINES, Iowa -- While the girls state basketball tournament is being played across the street, another lesser-known state tournament is underway at the Iowa Events Center.
Eleven high school teams are competing in the 2017 ProStart Invitational. The Iowa Restaurant Association Education Foundation is sponsoring the competition. The idea is to find the best high school chef team in the state.
Culinary teams from Davenport, Sergeant Bluff- Luton, Hampton-Dumont, Cherokee, Waukee, Sioux City East, Burlington, Alburnett, Mt. Pleasant, Waterloo West, and Cedar Rapids were involved in the competition.
The teams each had 60 minutes to prepare a three course meal, using only two butane burners. The teams were judged on knife skills, safety, sanitation, and teamwork.
“Prostart is one of the largest industry-supported career and technical education programs in the nation,” said May Schaben of the Iowa Restaurant Association Education Foundation. “This competition gives them the opportunity to showcase the skills that they’ve learned in the open, in front of industry professionals.”
For the high school teams, it has all the pressure of a reality TV show.
“Very nerve-wracking, nothing can really prepare you for being under the pressure," said Sarah Eliason, a senior from Waukee. “You can practice it a thousand times, but nothing is like being in the kitchen.”
The teams also face the judges who have questions about the meals they prepared.
“Cooking is a great way to feed the soul,” said Eliason. “Food is something we all have a passion for.”
The winners of the competition should be announced later on Tuesday.