Sanchez wins ProStart National Invitational


Sanchez wins ProStart National Invitational

by: Ken Stewart | .
The Guam Food Guy | .
published: May 09, 2013

Bravo! Biba Guahan!

National ProStart High School Culinary Arts competition April 22!”

Congratulations to the four Simon Sanchez High School ProStart Culinary students who have just returned from Baltimore, Maryland with a trophy and gold medals after garnering first place in the National ProStart High School Culinary Arts competition! I am devoting this first “Front Page” of our newsletter to this major achievement that’s taken many years! In the culinary world, this is truly BIG NEWS and a huge success for Guam. As a member of the Micronesian Chefs Association, I have participated in and been supportive of the ProStart High School Culinary Arts program since the very first competition. Guam Diner has also covered this annual event. We were excited when our first team (JFK) went to the States to compete and also thrilled when we took 4th place and 6th place in the National competition. All of the previous years were training and we learned significant lessons about the ProStart competition. Of course, with our team’s dedication, determination, and focus, not to mention the mentorship of Executive Chef Peter Duenas, it was nearly inevitable that Guam would win. We owe heaps of gratitude to Barry Mead for making ProStart a reality and for his single-minded drive to build and develop the culinary arts program at Guam Community College. We have come a long way, Team Guam!

They came, they cooked, they won.

The GCC CTE ProStart team from Simon Sanchez High School won the National ProStart Invitational in Baltimore, Maryland, on Sunday, April 21, east coast time. Team captain MacDaniel Dimla and members Airen Magday, Angellica Sia and Leyann Lusung bested 42 other teams from around the country to take first place in the prestigious high school culinary competition.

They did so by preparing a three-course meal in 60 minutes, using only two butane burners with no access to running water or electricity. Their menu of a lumpia-encased seafood beggar’s purse, stuffed pork tenderloin, and a playful take on coffee and cake impressed the dozen tough judges enough to garner them first place. Not only was their menu evaluated on taste and presentation, but also, the team was judged on their skills, teamwork, safety and sanitation.

Still reeling from shock, team captain Dimla told K57’s Patti Arroyo via phone from Baltimore, “The thing that we all had was our team bonding. The way we worked together on the floor...we all had each other’s back no matter what.”

All four team members will bring home gold medals and be awarded generous educational scholarships to help further their careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry. According to the ProStart Invitational website at, in 2012, more than $1.4 million in scholarships was awarded to students by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) and leading academic institutions.

Vicky Schrage is the SSHS ProStart instructor, and Chef Peter Duenas, of Meskla Restaurant and Outdoor Chef fame, is the team’s mentor chef. He also thanked the Micronesian Chefs Association for its help in preparing the team for the competition.

Duenas told Arroyo, “We had to incorporate some of the island style” in the competition menu, and said he will feature the winning menu on his menu at Meskla.

A total of 235 students are enrolled in the GCC CTE ProStart programs in George Washington, John F. Kennedy, Southern, and Simon Sanchez high schools (Okkodo does not yet have a teaching kitchen facility). This is the ninth year that Guam has sent a team to the ProStart National Invitational.

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