Culinary team wins first place at invitational

For the eighth year in a row, Bonney Lake High School culinary instructor Kahale Ahina took the Panthers culinary team to the ProStart Invitational.

Romica Watson

For the eighth year in a row, Bonney Lake High School culinary instructor Kahale Ahina took the Panthers culinary team to the ProStart Invitational.

But this year was different, the Panthers took home first place with a total score of 90.5 out of 105 possible points.

This was the first time Bonney Lake has won first place in Ahina’s eight years as instructor.

The winning team consisted of head chef and captain Emily Rash, Morgan Demich, Romica Watson, Jessica Luckey and alternate Conor Lees.

The edge the Panthers had over the 16 other teams was their unity and preparation which gave the Panthers a strong first impression, Ahina said.

Another thing that sets the Panthers apart from the other Washington teams at the invitational is the support they have.

One key component, Ahina said, is the mentoring the team gets from executive chef Eric Hellner of the Metropolitan Grill.

“Chef Eric has spent countless hours with Bonney Lake High School culinary students both in the classroom and bringing students into the industry for real-time experiences,” Ahina said.

The invitational was held March 2 at the Maribeau Park Hotel and Convention Center in Spokane.

Ahina said the Panthers aren’t going to slow down.

“We are continuing practices to refine our execution of our production plan in preparation for nationals,” he said.

The National ProStart Invitational is May 3-5 in Minnesota.

“This is the opportunity of a lifetime for students and my dream for the past eight years to represent Washington at the national competition,” Ahina said. “Top culinary schools offer full ride scholarships to winning teams.”

To prepare for these competitions, Ahina has the team practice like it’s the day of competition.

The team “gets comfortable with the restrictions and pressure of what it is really like,” he said.

More in News

Students, staff move into new Enumclaw High classrooms

Construction isn’t over, but students can now enjoy new health, social sciences classrooms and science labs, as well as new school library.

One dead, two injured in Bonney Lake Fire

Crews arrived early this morning to find a fully-engulfed double-wide mobile home.

Metro revises timeline for RapidRide bus expansion

After originally aiming to build 20 additional fast-service bus lines on high demand routes by 2040, King County Metro has changed its construction timelines and put 13 of those projects on hold.

Pierce library system seeking levy lift to keep facilities, programs operating

If approved, the levy will increase the annual tax bill by around $32 a year, bringing the average total up to $160 annually.

Joseph Sewell talked to the Buckley City Council on Oct. 9 about his potential marijuana processing business and wine and beer setup right off SR 410. Photo by Ray Miller-Still
Buckley sets limits on marijuana trade, allowing room for one more

A new marijuana producer is looking to open up off SR 410, and include a new wine and beer stop for Buckley residents and visitors.

General election ballots mailed | Secretary of State

Don’t put off sending in your ballot this year, even though it’s easier than ever to mail it in.

Recovering the mantle of ‘senior’

The Enumclaw Senior Center, with the help of a potential five-year grant from the county, hopes to change how people think about getting older.

Halloween pet photo event | Tractor Supply Company

Get a photo dressed up with your furry friend this Halloween.

Most Read