Chef Sam Musto has been named Michigan ProStart Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Restaurant Association Educational Support Foundation. Musto is the instructor of the culinary arts program for the South and West Washtenaw Consortium at Saline High School.
The award was presented to Musto following a weekend during which students from the SWWC competed in the Pro-Start Michigan Contest. The SWWC team was among more than 50 Michigan programs competing. The local kids took fifth place in the “Culinary Competition.”
The Teacher of the Year award, sponsored by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), recognizes an exceptional educator who utilizes the ProStart program in their classroom.
Musto, who received an ovation from trustees, administrators and audience members at Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.
“Chef Musto's dedication to Saline High School and the South and West Washtenaw Consortium is invaluable,” said Dr. Julie Helber, Principal of Saline High School. “His passion for the culinary arts and teaching are attributes that attract and retain students in the program. He is an excellent choice for ProStart's Teacher of the Year.”
Assistant Superintendent Steve Laatsch agreed.
“Sam Musto has devoted countless hours to his students and the culinary arts program to make it what it is today,” Laatsch said. “Sam has done a terrific job of showcasing the students' culinary skills at many school and community events. He is well deserving of this outstanding award.”
Musto he was honored to receive the award.
“It’s really an honor,” Musto said. “The award is given to a chef educator who shows exemplary teaching and continues to produces students who are prepared for culinary school and the workforce. The candidate is nominated by peers.”
This is Musto’s eighth year in Saline. He previously taught for 14 years in Detroit Public Schools. He continues to teach at Schoolcraft College, where’s been for more than 20 years. In his years at Saline, Musto has helped develop some of Michigan’s top culinary arts talents – some of who’ve gone on to study at prestigious institutes.
Musto teaches about 100 students at Saline High School, which has continued to improve its great facilities.
“The facilities at Saline High School continue to be state of the art. A couple of years ago the district expanded the culinary kitchen to include a bakery room - that significantly increased the skill level I could teach,” Musto said. “We are hopeful that the district continues to invest in the facility as culinary is a high demand field for skilled workers.”
With the award comes a trip to Chicago for the National Restaurant Association trade show in May. If Musto wins a national award, it would come with $5,000 for the culinary arts program at Saline.