$1.4M in scholarships awarded to top five culinary and management student teams
(Chicago) Last night, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) crowned the Olathe Public Schools team from Kansas as the culinary winner and the Byron Nelson High School team from Texas as the management winner of its 11th Annual National ProStart Invitational. Held in Baltimore, Md., the NRAEF and partner colleges and universities awarded more than $1.4 million in scholarships at the competition to the first- through fifth-place teams to pursue their education in foodservice and hospitality programs.
“It is so inspiring to see the enormous passion and enthusiasm each student competitor brings to the National ProStart Invitational, and we are honored to recognize this year’s winners for their accomplishments,” said Lynette McKee, Executive Director, NRAEF. "To witness first-hand the skills and talent our ProStart students possess at such a young age only reaffirms our belief that these same students will become leaders of our industry in the years to come."
The National ProStart Invitational consists of two competitions – management and culinary – and teams must win first place at the state level to advance to the national event. In this fast-paced competition, teams demonstrated their culinary skills and knowledge of restaurant management before nearly 1,000 fellow students, educators, mentors, state restaurant association representatives, industry professionals and NRAEF Trustees.
The team from Olathe Public Schools in Kansas took home first place in the culinary competition. Plymouth-Canton Educational Park of Michigan earned second place honors, and Polaris Career Center of Ohio came in third place. Fourth place honors were awarded to South Salem High School in Oregon and Oak Harbor High School of Washington took home fifth place. In the culinary competition, teams prepared a starter, entrée and dessert within 60 minutes using only two butane burners, and were judged on categories including taste, knife skills, safety, sanitation and teamwork.
In the management competition, Byron Nelson High School in Texas took top honors above second place Carver Center for Arts and Technology of Maryland. The team from Rayne High School in Louisiana won third place. Fourth and fifth places were awarded to Bergen County Academies of New Jersey and Eastside High School in Florida, respectively. Teams developed an original restaurant concept, and applied critical thinking skills to challenges restaurant managers face in day-to-day operations.
The teams from Kansas and Texas beat out 75 other ProStart high school teams from 40 states and territories to win first place.
ProStart – the NRAEF's nationwide, two-year program designed to develop the next generation of restaurant operators and chefs – reaches more than 90,000 students in 1,700 high schools across 47 states, Guam, and U.S. military bases. From culinary techniques to management skills, ProStart’s industry-driven curriculum provides real-world educational opportunities and builds practical skills for a foundation that will last a lifetime. In line with the core mission of NRAEF – to promote career opportunities and pathways in the restaurant and foodservice industry through programs, partnerships and outreach – ProStart also positively impacts the economic prosperity of the industry at large by maintain a pipeline of talent.
ProStart is made possible through the national and local support from industry members, educators, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and state restaurant associations. For more information on the ProStart program, please visit www.prostart.restaurant.org or find us on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube.
# # #
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) enhances the restaurant industry's service to the public through education, community engagement, and promotion of career opportunities. The restaurant and foodservice industry comprises 960,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of nearly 13 million employees, making it one of the nation's largest employers. The NRAEF is focused on working with the Association to lead America's restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence and participation by providing the valuable tools and resources needed to educate our current and incoming employees. For more information on the NRAEF, visit www.nraef.org.