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Ohio ProStart® School Shines on Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible

The South Stark ProStart Culinary Program will be featured on the program December 14

The South Stark ProStart® Culinary Program at South Canton High School recently took center stage for Restaurant: Impossible, a Food Network reality television show that helps restaurants revitalize their brands through changes in their menus and their physical layout. The program recently decided to focus on a different topic for this episode and chose to highlight a high school culinary program. The episode is set to air December 14 at 9 p.m. on the Food Network.

Early in 2011, ProStart Instructor Chef Tom Blike was approached by a school secretary and asked if he would object to her submitting his student-operated restaurant, The Wildcat Café, as a potential candidate for the popular television program. He agreed, and the school café was later selected by the program for a renovation.

This summer, with cameras rolling, the Restaurant: Impossible crew, Chef Robert Irvine, the show’s host, the school’s students and the South Stark Marching Band took the show on the road. They drove the bus to Benders, an ORA member restaurant, where the students were instructed on preparation of the new menu items that Irvine had added to their menu.

Blike invited his advisory committee to participate in the event, and ProStart Instructors Chef Dave Browne and Chef Dennis Finley, worked in the kitchen to assist in the preparation of the grand reveal. Blike was most impressed by the dedication and support of the Canton local businesses and the South Stark School. Through the show, the Ohio ProStart® program gained prominence, and the school received a remodeled dining room, a new cook range and many pieces of small equipment.

“It’s always inspiring to see an Ohio ProStart school gain national attention,” said Sharon K.M. Fish, the Executive Director of the Ohio Restaurant Association Education Foundation, which supports the Ohio ProStart program. “Whenever students’ lives can be enhanced, it’s rewarding to see it happen. Chef Tom and his students work hard so it’s great to see them featured on the program.”

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