Teamwork is a recipe for success

Executive Chef Frank Marrara

A group of soon-to-be chefs have found the recipe for success, thanks, in part, to Michigan International Speedway culinary expert Frank Marrara.

Marrara serves as mentor for the Lenawee Inter¬mediate School District Culinary Arts team, who recently beat 18 other teams in Michigan’s ProStart Student Competition. The team heads to nationals April 28 in Overland Park, Kan.

ProStart blends classroom learning with mentored work experience to help high school students learn management and culinary skills needed for a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry. Mentors provide overall support for students and help guide their careers.

“My main role as a mentor is to help students make the connection between their current level of performance and their future,” Marrara, a chef for 35 years, said. “I try to give them real information on what works and what doesn’t work. It’s been a rewarding experience to guide young, talented people.”

For the competition, the culinary kids must create a three-course meal in 60 minutes. The team will be judged on their appearance, knife skills, the appearance and taste of the meal and on cleanliness both during and after cooking.

Like all good recipes, the perfect mix of just the right ingredients make successful dishes, as well as successful teams.

Marrara not only brings the right blend of knowledge, professionalism, attention to detail and real-world experience to his role as a mentor, but also to his work at MIS.

Marrara, the executive chef for Americrown, the catering arm of MIS, has mentored the LISD students for the past five years. In addition to mentoring the LISD students, Marrara oversees the culinary divisions of MIS, Kansas Speedway, Auto Club Speedway in California and Phoenix International Raceway.

Prior to that, he worked for Sportservice for nearly 20 years, cooking dishes for major events from Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. He studied at the Chef Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., the premiere cooking school in America.

Providing wonderfully tasty meals is but one aspect of the job for any chef. Now try providing hundreds of thousands of tasty meals at several NASCAR racetracks throughout the year, a challenging task to be sure. Most people fear cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the family; Marrara has to cook for countless fans every time his NASCAR Sprint Cup racetracks open their gates.

So what’s his secret?

“Organization and teamwork,” he said. “The secret to being an executive chef, is being organized and putting together a good team. You have to rely on other people and know that above anything, you are part of a team.”

Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is a Great Escape, a venerable NASCAR national park where race fans and sports fans can get away and enjoy the very best in racing and camaraderie. It’s the fun of NASCAR and the thrill of a great time for guests and drivers alike.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tickets for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 on June 19 and NSCS 400 on August 21 are now on sale and as low as $30. Visit or call the MIS ticket hotline at 800-354-1010 today to take advantage of great pricing for 2011 events at MIS.

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