Eggs were cracking but flavors weren't lacking at the 2020 Prostart cooking competition on Friday at Montana State University.
The annual competition gives high school students across the state a chance to experience a real-world, high-stress cooking environment and the chance at representing Montana nationally.
Once the competition started, the chefs were ready to stir up something delicious.
"This is the future of the service industry in Montana that we're working with. We all know how important the service industry is to Montana," said organizer Roth Jordan.
The experience gave the young chefs a feel of what it's like in that industry.
"It's nerve-racking. They're incredibly nervous the whole time, obviously. But it's a great learning experience for them," Jordan said.
And the chefs were closely critiqued.
"The tenderness of the meat was great. I just don't think the corn starch cooked out enough," said one judge.
Even friends and family felt the heat.
"It's a lot more serious than I thought, and it's like a lot more intense. It looks like a lot of hard work," George Baty said as he watched his friend compete.
The winning team earns the right to call themselves the best in Montana.
"It's a state-level competition, so whichever team wins, I mean, they are number one for the state of Montana. So, it's a big deal for these kids," Organizer Todd Christensen said.