Eight Hopkins High School ProStart culinary students experienced a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity last weekend when they worked alongside professional chefs at one of the biggest food events in the country – the Taste of the NFL. The star-studded fundraiser featured current, Hall of Fame, and alumni NFL players from each of the NFL franchises, as well as plenty of celebrities.
Working over 10-hour shifts, the students clocked a total of 22 hours over the course of two days prepping and serving food for 32 chefs. The Taste of the NFL was held on Saturday Feb. 3 at the RiverCentre in St. Paul. Those who attended sampled over 45,000 tastings prepared by the best chefs from each of the 32 NFL cities. The event officially sold out with 2,500 tickets sold at a prices ranging from $700 to $1,000 apiece. The money raised is dedicated to food relief, with the majority benefiting the host city's local food shelves.
"This was an incredible opportunity for students," said Gayle Durand, culinary specialist at Hopkins High School. "Students were able to work a major event alongside some of the best chefs in the country."
In addition to gaining real-life work experience, the students met Adam Richmond from the Food Network, Andrew Zimmern, and even Miss America. This experience was made possible through ProStart, a nationwide accredited high school culinary program of which Hopkins is a member. This is the first year ProStart students have been involved in the Taste of the NFL, and the program hopes to be involved in subsequent Super Bowls for years to come.
The Hopkins students who participated in the Taste of the NFL are: Samira Abdi, Marco Leon Gil, Lauren Krake, Kailey Kreienbrink, Ousman Darboe, Ryan Estella, Nick Duster, and Jake Segura. They were placed on teams each dedicated to different dishes, including:
Team Arizona Cardinals
Chef: Beau Macmillan
Menu Item: Hot Fried Chicken, Pickled Celeriac, Blue Cheese Crema, King's Hawaiian Roll.
Team Los Angeles Rams
Chef: Steve Samson
Menu Item: Minestra nel sacco: Parmigiano Reggiano dumplings, meat broth.
New York Giants
Chef: Scott Burdett
Menu Item: Crispy Chicken Wings with Gochujung
About Taste of the NFL: Taste of the NFL is a strolling food and wine event held on the eve of Super Bowl in the host city. More than 32 restaurant stations, one from each NFL city, provide fabulous food and wine pairings for guests to enjoy. The evening concludes with entertainment from a nationally-acclaimed band or performer. Past performers include Sarah Evans, Martina McBride, Bare Naked Ladies and many others. To date, Taste of the NFL programs and events have raised and donated in excess of $25 million to food banks and nonprofit organizations in 32 NFL cities, resulting in more than 200 million new meals for Americans in need.