SAUK RAPIDS - This week’s All-Star Student is a member of the Pro-Start Culinary Program at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School. Madelaine Virchow's love for cooking started in her home kitchen cooking with her dad. Ever since she made her first lasagna, all by herself, she had a dream of pursuing a career in culinary and hospitality.

Virchow preparing part of her entree during team practice.
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman)

Mary Levinski is the adviser and coach of the culinary program.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the program.

"Last year she worked on our appetizer for competition," says Levinski, "and she had a scallop with asparagus, and had a great flavor profile, judges loved it. She was part of the culinary team that took second last year."

This year Virchow was working on an entrée during the teams’ practice. She made a pork tenderloin, with a puree made of peppers, onions, and tomatoes.

Levinski says, "She is really kind of a go getter, she’s the one who sets up for our practices, she’s the one who will say 'hey, if you need something let me know, I’ll go get the groceries.'  She sees what needs to be done, and gets it done."

A Pork Tenderloin entree prepared by this week's All-Star Student, Madelaine Virchow.
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman)

Virchow says she enjoys cooking because it gives her a chance to express herself.

"I get to show myself on a plate," says Virchow, "I love making people happy though food, something that is presented well and tastes good is just something that I enjoy doing."

Levinski says Virchow's success lies in her plating abilities.

Virchow has applied to Le Cordon Bleu in the Twin Cities. She is currently awaiting a response. Levinski says she has had a lot of students move onto culinary careers.

I think quite a few students who've actually pursued the careers in culinary and hospitality over the last eight years that we've been doing this, and it is really fun to see where they end up, and where they’re going. Her journey is just beginning.

Virchow during team practice preparing her entree.
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman)

Virchow credits her current program for the beginning of that journey.

"The ProStart program has just helped us a lot form all the experiences we get to do, helping others in the community, and just helping us with scholarships, and setting us up for success for the future," says Virchow.



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