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Oregon Teens Prepare for State ProStart Contest

With the clock ticking and teammates scurrying, Taylor McGraw, a senior at Willamette High School in Eugene, Ore., whisked her eggs, shallots, oil and lemon, preparing a homemade mayonnaise to accompany the salmon entree. It was just another day of ProStart prep for Taylor and other student chefs in the school. Twice a week the teens in culinary class prepare for their state’s annual ProStart competition, first vying against other teams of teen chefs in high schools throughout Oregon, and then, hopefully, to the national finals in Baltimore.

By the time an hour had passed, the Willamette team had come through, creating an arugula salad with pears, toasted hazelnuts, prosciutto and a balsamic dressing; salmon with that mayonnaise; Parmesan polenta with rosemary and roasted root vegetables; and pear cobbler with Gorgonzola and sweetened mascarpone cheese, white chocolate and raspberry coulis.

From left, Ella Jones, Cody Valenzuela, Kelsey Van Sant and Taylor McGraw, culinary team from Willamette High School practice in Eugene, Ore., for the state ProStart competition. (Photo by BRIAN DAVIES, The Register-Guard

The culinary team from Willamette High School - from left, Ella Jones, Cody Valenzuela, Kelsey Van Sant and Taylor McGraw - practices in Eugene, Ore., for the state ProStart competition. (Photo by BRIAN DAVIES, The Register-Guard)

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