Chef Beriau Mentors Culinary Students

By Amy Jeanroy

Friday, December 13, the St. Croix Tech Center enjoyed a visit from Chef Wilfred Beriau. 

Between showing the class how to make Spaetzle (which is “Little Sparrow” in German) and pound pork cutlets, Chef Beriau took a moment to share why he was the Tech Center, and how he was there to help the culinary student. As the recipient of an impressive number of awards, Maine native Chef Beriau is a culinary educator and mentor as well. He works with ProStart, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, which is why he came to the Tech Center. 

ProStart is a collaborative educational event  that brings together industry mentors and students in the classroom for an intensive 2 year training program. Students come away with real life training in all facets of the culinary industry, and after passing a series of exams, end up with an industry recognized certificate. A graduate holding this certificate has proof that they have been trained in all foundational skills and have 400 hours of mentored training. As impressive  as it is to read, this certificate can open doors for these students, says Chef Beriau. 

“This certificate, this bargaining chip, can make a difference when a student is out there trying to get a job in their chosen field. It  is proof that they are worth more than minimum wage. They have professional training that is meaningful and will be valuable to an employer.”

An added bonus to being in the program, there is also a challenging finish; Chef Beriau explains: 

“This training culminates into an annual state competition of ProStart teams. Whoever wins gets to go compete nationally in St. Paul. We had a team that went from Lewiston/Auburn last year; The Green Ladle. It was a lot of fun.”

The St. Croix Technical Center is located at the Calais High School in Calais.