Berlin High School Mountaineer, Richard Gates Jr. received Culinary 3rd Place, at the New York State Restaurant Association’s ProStart Invitational on March 24th.

The weekend-long invitational was held at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Poughkeepsie, NY, where the students stayed for two nights.

“It was a really great experience, I did not want to leave that campus,” said Richard, when talking about the invitational with BMHS Principal Mr. Bernsley.

Richard is a junior at Berlin High School and spends half his day at Questar III BOCES in the Culinary Program at Robert H. Gibson Technical School in Troy, under the direction of Chef Andrew Ottati.

In the evenings and on weekends Richard works as a chef in the kitchen of 17 Cherry Plain Square, a local restaurant near the Berlin CSD. The ProStart competition reinforced Richard’s desire to pursue a career in the culinary industry.

The weekend-long competition included 17 schools from around New York and Vermont. Richard and his teammates Luka Ruiz (Troy), Jaquan Wright (Lansingburgh), and Kameron Lavelle (Brunswick) competed against 30 student chefs during an hour-long competition, in which they had to create an appetizer, main course and dessert. Richard and his team made a jalapeno popper over a black bean and pepper salad for the appetizer; duck over couscous with a curry sauce for the main course; and a sweet potato yam bread for dessert.

Richard took photos of his beautifully composed final dishes and proudly shared them with Mr. Bernsley, who was very impressed. (Check out Richard’s photos below.)

For his win Richard received $7,000 in scholarship money to the Culinary Institute of America, he would like to pursue an education there after high school.

Mr. Bernsley was excited to see the spark Richard has for the culinary industry and encouraged him to stay focused on his passion.

“Keep disciplined and continue to work hard at school,” said Mr. Bernsley. “If you keep focused on that, you will achieve the goals you are setting out for yourself.”

Congratulations Richard, the BCSD Community is looking forward to watching what you do next!

photos: BCSD Communications, Richard Gates Jr. and Questar Communications