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ProStart Teachers Workshop

Photos by Doug Baker

UD hosts weeklong hospitality program for high school teachers

This summer, 11 high school teachers from around the country gathered at the University of Delaware campus to participate in the National Restaurant Association's ProStart Teachers Workshop. Chef Joe DiGregorio, executive chef and director of education for the UD hospitality department’s food service lab, facilitated the weeklong intensive program.

Teachers participating in the program came to UD to improve their skills and help their students to better take advantage of opportunities in the hospitality industry.

All participants were completing level three of the ProStart program, which “concludes culinary techniques, [and branches] into timely topics like sustainability and global cuisines” as stated in the ProStart program overview.

Over the course of the week, participants interacted with the Delaware community and neighboring states, including industry tours at mushroom farms in Avondale, Pennsylvania, and a family operated organic dairy farm in Kirkwood, Pennsylvania.

At the end of the program, the teachers showcased their newly acquired skills by preparing dishes from a mystery basket of global ingredients. This year’s basket included mushrooms, flank steak, Arctic char, pumpkin seeds and Arborio rice.

During this process, the teachers “get to use their talents, as well as the techniques we went through during the week,” DiGregorio said.

At the end of the two-hour time limit, the participants prepared plates of their dishes, as well as platters for everyone to enjoy. They shared the techniques and ideas they had for the ingredients with each other, all while enjoying the end product.

According to the National Restaurant Association, the ProStart program “gives students a platform to discover new interests and talents to open doors for fulfilling careers. It happens through a curriculum that includes all facets of the industry, and sets a high standard of excellence for students and the industry.”

DiGregorio added that programs like ProStart help UD’s hospitality department to stay connected with the hospitality and restaurant management communities as well as groups like the National Restaurant Association.

“We can share resources and ideas,” DiGregorio said.

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