Arkansas Tech Career Center Culinary Arts Students Win State Competition

OZARK –– Chef Amanda Jones and her Culinary Arts students win the Pro Start Culinary Arts Prostart competition.

On March 8 the Arkansas Tech Career Center (ATCC) Culinary Arts program, sent a team of five students to compete at the Arkansas Prostart state competition. After months of practice and preparation, the students were ready and eager to put their skills to the test in front of a judging team of 15 judges. The students were judged on everything from knife cuts to sanitation during the one-hour competition.

Prostart is a timed team competition in which each team has one hour to complete an upscale 3-course meal, with no electricity or running water on two butane burners. Each team is provided 2 8ft tables in a 10×10 space. The team from ATCC took first place in the State Competition and will be attending the National competition at the end of April, which will be held in Providence, Rhode Island, to compete among 47 teams from across the United States.

“These students are the reason I love what I do so much. They worked hard for weeks in preparation and I am so proud of them,” stated Chef Amanda Jones. “They set out to bring the heat to the competition but seeing their faces when they took first place was by far the most rewarding part. We are ready to take on Nationals next!” Chef Amanda Jones was also named 2018 Prostart Teacher of the Year by the Arkansas Hospitality Association.

The ATCC Culinary Team is made up of Blaine Fetcher, a junior at Pottsville High School, Haley LeMaire, Hector Ibares, and MaKayla Anderson all juniors at Russellville High School, and manager Jaden Rhoades, a sophomore at Russellville High School.


  1. Haley LeMaire says:

    Hello, my name is Haley LeMaire and I am one of the Culinary students who won the competition. Our team has worked hard to get where we are and the competition has only just begun. I’ve enjoyed all the time I’ve spent (and the food I ate) with my team members. I remember at the very beginning of our practices, I was an alternate for this team and we had two other members. Since those two members had to leave the team I was able to be an actual part of the team. Our manager is the youngest one in our group, Jaden Rhodes, and has done a wonderful job at keeping us on task. Makayla Anderson has been a friend of mine for a while and we work hand in hand with the appetizer and dessert while the boys, Hector and Blaine, are preparing the entree. My favorite part of the state competition was when my team had come together to help me finish plating the dessert since I was running low on time. But our team wouldn’t have made it this far if it wasn’t for Chef Amanda. She has helped us find our own talents and has continued to encourage us to keep trying. She has taught me a lot of new things and I still have a lot more to learn. Chef was very surprised that she had gotten the 2018 Teacher of the Year Award, but we weren’t. We all knew she had worked hard and deserved it. This team has given me a close friendship and a family. I look forward to going to Nationals with them.

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