Melinda Drogowski wins culinary award 4.2

Written by David Green.

When Melinda Drogowski took the tour of the Lenawee Vo-Tech Center last year, she knew right then where she was headed.

Other members of Morenci’s sophomore class might not have been sure of their future, but for Melinda, the choice was clear. When she was able to enroll in  Vo-Tech classes, she would choose the hospitality program to get a start on becoming a chef.

It turned out to be a good choice. It’s been hard work, but she’s had some great experiences, learned a lot about the culinary business and she has excelled.

From a class of more than 20 students, she was chosen as a member of both Vo-Tech teams that recently competed in the state-wide ProStart program—teams that came home with third and fourth place finishes among a field of 18 competitors.

ProStart, explained hospitality instructor Corbett Day, is a two-year program that gives students the culinary and management skills needed for a career in the restaurant and food service industry.

Those classroom skills are put to the test once a year in the Michigan Restaurant Association ProStart Student Invitational. The 2008 competition took place in Lansing’s Sheraton Hotel March 8-10.

This is where students have to show respect for each other, practice good teamwork and show good listening skills, said team member Alec Rummler of Adrian.

In addition to Mr. Day’s instruction, students worked with chef Frank Marrara of Americrown at Michigan International Speedway. The class visited the kitchen there to work alongside the pro.

At the Sheraton, teams of four students had one hour to prepare a meal. The Lenawee team went with pan-seared yellow fin tuna, wrapped in seaweed and accompanied by a wasabi-pea coulis and a red pepper sauce. A Mediterranean salad was also prepared.

The effort netted a fourth-place finish, but the management team—again with Melinda as a member—did even better. The quiz bowl participation and case study project resulted in a third-place finish. Each team member was promised a $500 scholarship to the highly-regarded Johnson & Wales University culinary school.

She would like to put that scholarship to use after a couple of years at Washtenaw Community College where she would get some basics covered.

Melinda is already looking forward to second year classes at Vo-Tech where students will dig into some finer points of cooking, such as spices and sauces—all in an independent study format.

“They’re getting a new kitchen next year so it’s going to be even better,” Melinda said.

She’s also looking forward to job possibilities after graduation when the Pro-Start program is complete.

Classes end each day at 2:15 p.m., but that was far from the end of the day for several students learning the culinary arts. But with the competition over for the year, maybe there won’t be so many late nights for the young chefs.

  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2017