Bonney Lake culinary team places fifth at nationals

After competing at the state ProStart Invitational for the eighth consecutive year, the Bonney Lake High School Culinary Arts team walked away as first place victors for the first time in March. The state champions then took their restaurant management and culinary arts skills to a national level May 3 at the National ProStart Invitational in Minnesota. They placed fifth in the competition.

The team is led by culinary teacher Kahale Ahina.

“Winning state is huge, but placing 5th in the nation is a feeling indescribable. It’s been an amazing year for our Culinary Arts team and this is seriously the cherry on top,” Ahina said.

Each team was asked to prepare an appetizer, entree and dessert. They were given two butane burners and 60 minutes to prepare their best offering. Judges examined teamwork and skill level, as well as taste, safety and sanitation.

The teams were comprised of students from 46 states and territories across North America.

The top-scoring teams received scholarship offers from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, The Chef’s Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, The Culinary Institute of America, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, The International Culinary Schools, Johnson & Wales University, Louisiana Culinary Institute, New England Culinary Institute, Mississippi University for Woman and Sullivan University.

The Panthers were each awarded $500 from Bloomin’ Brands and $1,000 from the Burger King McLamoresm Foundation.