Wando High School produces nation’s best restaurant management team

Bill Twaler, Talbot McGee, Anna Ware, Tanner Crunelle and Douglas O'Flaherty accept the first-place trophy. (nraef.org)

Charlestonians who lament the limited local availability of international eating options can appreciate the impetus for The Global Gourmet Food Truck, a hypothetical operation that vaulted Wando High School to victory in the National ProStart Invitational.

Wando last year finished fifth in the competition, which is billed as the premier contest for high schoolers studying restaurant management and culinary arts. Management teams are required to come up with a business plan for an original restaurant concept and present it to a panel of industry experts; only state-level winners are invited to the national finals.

“This year our kids knew what they had to do going into the competition,” chef instructor Bill Twaler says. “They spent more time getting ready for States, which helped us prepare for Nationals.”

A Kansas high school claimed the culinary arts prize; Anderson Career and Technology Center in Williamston, S.C. finished fourth.

Twaler says students Talbot McGee, Anna Ware and Tanner Crunelle are still awaiting detailed comments from the judges. The Global Gourmet Food Truck’s menu featured Thai curry chicken salad; a gyro burger; a Berber chicken sandwich and baked kale chips, among other finger foods. Fried ice cream and bacon brownies were listed for dessert.

The competition was held earlier this month at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim. “It was a crazy event this year,” Twaler says.