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TCA culinary team makes history at nationals

A team of culinary students from Lincoln Public Schools advanced to nationals recently and made a little history along with a three-course meal.

The Career Academy (TCA) team of Francisco Chavira Gonzalez, Tessa Mariscal, Corbin Reinhardt and Sagan Smith placed in the top 25 in the Culinary Competition portion of the National ProStart Invitational, held April 27-30 in Providence, Rhode Island. It’s the highest finish for any Nebraska team at the annual national competition.

Gonzalez and Smith are seniors at Lincoln High School, while Mariscal is a senior at Northeast High School and Reinhardt is a senior at Southwest High School. The TCA’s culinary instructor is Maybell Galusha.

Their team - called “Guac and Roll” - showcased its creativity and proficiency by preparing a three-course meal in 60 minutes, using only two butane burners and without access to running water or electricity. The students prepared:

  • A starter of mache salad;
  • An entrée of pan-fried veal chops with mushroom-cider pan sauce, parmesan-dusted polenta fries and braised vegetables;
  • And for dessert, a white chocolate Bavarian in a gold-dusted dark chocolate pyramid with sweetened cream quenelle, fresh berries and mixed berry sauce.

Judges evaluated teams not only on taste, but on skill, teamwork, safety and sanitation, as well.

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, along with state-level partners such as the Nebraska Restaurant Association, administer the ProStart curriculum. It’s designed to teach high school students the culinary and management skills that lead to successful careers as professionals in the hospitality and food service industry.

About The Career Academy:

TCA is a joint venture between LPS and Southeast Community College (SCC). TCA's goal is to provide academic and real-world experiences to juniors and seniors through high school and dual credit courses in 16 different career pathways.

Students attend TCA for two hours a day during the regular school year while taking their remaining courses at their home high school. Transportation in the LPS district is provided, books are free and tuition is free through scholarships or paid at a 50 percent discount to the regular SCC credit-hour charge.


Published: May 9, 2018, Updated: May 18, 2018

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