The myth of Demeter, Greek goddess of harvest and agriculture, was the inspiration for this year’s 1st place restaurant concept in the Management division at the 2023 Minnesota State ProStart Invitational. Sauk Rapids-Rice High School’s first place finish and return to Nationals are no myth.
Sauk Rapids-Rice High School are headed back to Nationals again this year to present “Demeter’s Harvest,” a Mediterranean-American fusion farm-to-table restaurant concept. They’ll be defending and focused on surpassing their 2nd place finish at the 2022 National ProStart Invitational.
Coached by Mary Levinski and mentored by Executive Chef James Leeder-Botnan, of McGarry’s Pub in Maple Plain, the team includes Annika Broman, Fionn Falk, Kavan Gullette, Chloe Molitor (pictured left to right). In a special recognition at this year’s competition, the team’s mentor, Chef Leeder-Botnan was named the 2023 Minnesota ProStart Mentor of the Year.
The ProStart Invitational is a program of the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation, which sets the rules for the competition. It is one aspect of the ProStart program offered in 90 high schools across Minnesota.
Preparation for the Management competition taps the entrepreneurial talents of the team and grounds them in the fundamentals of restaurant design and operations. The Sauk Rapids-Rice High School team has spent the school year researching, testing and organizing their concept for their presentation before a rotating panel of judges. They are evaluated on concept, menu and costing, operations, marketing and critical thinking. Presentation skills — the ability to bring the concept alive and convey their understanding of all aspects of it to the judges — also plays an important part in succeeding.
The team will spend the next month preparing for the national competition, which brings 50 schools together at the Washington Hilton for three days of competition. In addition to vying for top honors, winners in each division — Management and Culinary — are awarded scholarships for their post-secondary education. Pillager High School will be representing Minnesota in the Culinary division. Both teams can use the community’s help to defray travel costs. To donate, click here.