Monday, April 16, 2012

Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch, Students Wow Sacramento Chefs

Mira Mesa team
Above, the Mira Mesa High team.
Below, three of their dishes:
Togarashi Crusted Ahi,
Alaskan Halibut and
Macadamia Nut Cake.
Culinary students from Mira Mesa and Scripps Ranch high schools didn’t let the long drive to Sacramento stop them from placing in the top three spots at this year’s California Restaurant Association ProStart Competition.

Mira Mesa took first place in the Boyds Coffee Culinary Cup and third place in the BJ’s Restaurant Management Cup. Scripps Ranch took third place in the Boyds Coffee Culinary Cup, received a special cash award of $2,000 from BJ’s Restaurants Foundation and student, Jordan Tucker, was named the ProStart Student of the Year.

Mira Mesa will now have the opportunity to represent California in the National ProStart Invitational in Baltimore, Md. The competition was tough this year with a total of 23 culinary teams and 14 management teams from all over the state competing.

An association spokesperson said that the 23 culinary teams and 14 management teams from all over the state impressed the judges and attendees with their skill and entrepreneurial spirit. The judges were quick to note the passion and dedication apparent in all of the teams’ performances – clearly an indication that the future of the industry looks bright, thanks to the ProStart program.

The ProStart School-to-Career program was created to educate and develop promising high school graduates by giving them culinary and business training. The California Restaurant Association Education Fund works to increase student opportunities for higher education, jobs and careers in the hospitality industry.

Designed for high school juniors and seniors, ProStart is a two-year program that provides instruction in 25 subject areas, ranging from service to sanitation. This program encourages high school students to embrace and experience all of the skills necessary to operate and manage a successful food service establishment. ProStart also helps students develop the good business management skills crucial to future industry growth.

The Culinary Cup has teams competing in a series of skills tests as well as preparing a fine dining three course menu -- within an hour -- using only two butane burners. The teams have to bring all their equipment and food items to the competition. The Management Cup teams had to create their own restaurant concept, business plan and perform an oral and visual presentation to a panel of potential investors.

In San Diego Unified, culinary arts programs are offered at five high schools: Garfield, Mira Mesa, Morse, San Diego High and Scripps Ranch. Students who have completed the program have gone onto receive degrees from cooking academies and four-year universities with specialties in hospitality and other fields.

For more information, contact Mira Mesa chef/teacher Zhee Zhee Aguirre at, or Scripps Ranch chef/teacher Kimberly Coelho at

Read news coverage»

About the schools

Mira Mesa High School is a California Distinguished School and has been recognized by the state for its Exemplary Career Technical Education Program. Mira Mesa High is a comprehensive, neighborhood school drawing students from the diverse and integrated Mira Mesa neighborhood.
Scripps Ranch High School is a California Distinguished School, a National Blue Ribbon School, and received a medal in U.S. News and World Report’s 2007 America’s Best Schools rankings. Faculty and administration provide a challenging learning environment and consistently utilize current research and student data to improve programs and work toward student achievement.