A Riverwood International Charter School culinary team won first place at the ProStart State Invitational on March 22, which sends them to the national competition.

The school’s culinary arts team is composed of seniors John Garcia and RalShae Foster, along with juniors Maxwell Shank and Luis Juarez. They will advance to the National ProStart Invitational, the country’s premier high school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts.

The Riverwood business management team placed third and is composed of Riverwood students Jhayline Hernandez, Rylee Anthony, and Madison Irby. 

Culinary Arts instructor Chef Elissa Oliver was also named 2022 Georgia ProStart Educator of the Year by the Georgia Restaurant Association Education Foundation, sending her to the national competition’s award ceremony May 5-6 in Washington, D.C.

 “This is the highest award for a culinary educator in the industry. I am beyond honored to represent Georgia in Washington, D.C. this spring,” said Oliver, a Sandy Springs resident. 

She is the culinary arts instructor for Riverwood and pathway specialist for Fulton County Schools. She is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and has an advanced teaching degree from Georgia State University.

Oliver took over the helm of the Riverwood Culinary Arts department in 2013 and instructs almost 200 students a year.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.