March 6, 2015

ski-teamIf you’re a Colorado culinary school student trying to become a distinguished chef one day, then you understand the importance of gaining real world experience whenever possible. For several Colorado high school students with an interest in the culinary arts, the opportunity of a lifetime became a reality in February when they were offered the opportunity to cook for a number of international ski teams. According to the Denver Business Journal, more than 30 students from across the state were recently given the opportunity to cook several meals for professional skiers from Albania, New Zealand and Liechtenstein.

The students
The post has reported that these lucky high schoolers earned this opportunity as a result of their participation in ProStart, a subsidiary of the Colorado Restaurant Association. Effectively, ProStart provides an infrastructure for pairing students with demonstrated culinary ability alongside professional chefs in the area to help them gain experience in the field. Through this particular initiative, 32 different students were selected from nearly 10 high schools across the state to travel to Vail and Beaver Creek and cook two meals a day for the three ski teams, all of whom were staying in lodging outside of the resort grounds.

The process
While the opportunity was certainly an immense one for students with dreams of becoming a chef, the process didn’t come without a great deal of hard work. Laboring to establish themselves in the eyes of the Colorado Restaurant Association was only the beginning. Once they had been selected for the program, the students were divided into groups and brought to the ski team’s lodgings each day before six in the morning. Once there, the students worked tirelessly to prepare a healthy and nutritious breakfast for the skiers before they awoke. After cleaning up the students were granted a brief break before returning to prepare dinner. Each night, they would develop a beautiful, protein-heavy spread for the athletes, clean all of the dishes and leave dessert out for the enjoyment of the foreign teams.

The Colorado Restaurant Association
In recent years, the CRA has moved in great leaps and bounds to develop a deeper connection to the Colorado community at large. According to its website, the CRA’s Education Foundation was first founded in 1987 and is guided by a board of advisors with more than 20 members. The ProStart initiative, one of the CRA’s most popular programs, has gained incredible reach in Colorado communities by becoming involved with local high school students. In speaking with the Denver Business Journal, president of the CRA Education Foundation Mary Mino indicated that the investment made in these students has already paid off in their clearly visible abilities.

“The program has educated and trained these students at an industry level,” said Mino. Their skill level is at a level where they can go out and be self sufficient.”