Industry News | April 20, 2011

High Schoolers Face Off in NRAEF Competition

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ProStart students are sharpening both their knives and their presentations as they gear up for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) 10th Annual National ProStart Invitational, which kicks off on April 29 in Overland Park, Kansas.
 
This heated, three-day competition will feature 315 ProStart high school students from 40 states and territories, including Guam and Puerto Rico.  The student teams will demonstrate their culinary skills and knowledge of restaurant management in this fast-paced competition before nearly 1,000 fellow students, educators, mentors, state restaurant association representatives, industry professionals, and NRAEF Trustees. 
 
The winners will receive scholarships to continue their education to become the next generation of restaurant industry leaders. The 2011 National ProStart Invitational will be held April 29 – May 1 at the Overland Park Convention Center.  
 
“The National ProStart Invitational highlights the power of the ProStart program, our nationwide, two-year program that develops the best and brightest into tomorrow’s industry leaders,” says Dawn Sweeney, president & CEO of the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF. “These competitors showcase the culinary techniques and management skills they have honed through ProStart, while taking full advantage of this opportunity to network and build an outstanding foundation for their future career success. The passion for our industry displayed by these students is truly inspiring. We encourage all industry leaders to get involved with our ProStart program to support and mentor these talented students.”
 
ProStart, the NRAEF's proven, high-impact program for high school students, reaches more than 90,000 students in 1,700 high schools across 45 states, Guam, and U.S. military bases. It brings industry and the classroom together to give students a platform to discover new interests and talents and open doors for fulfilling careers.
 
The National ProStart Invitational consists of two competitions – management and culinary – and teams must win first place in their state competition to advance to the national event. The NRAEF will award scholarships to students on the first- through fifth-place winning teams in both competitions, in addition to scholarships offered by sponsoring colleges and universities. In 2011, more than $1 million in scholarships will be awarded to winning students on Sunday, May 1st. 
 
The culinary competition highlights the creative abilities of each team through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes using only two butane burners.  Management teams develop a proposal for an original restaurant concept and apply critical thinking skills to challenges restaurant managers face in day-to-day operations. The performance of teams in both the culinary and management events is observed and rated by expert judges from industry and academia. 
 
From culinary techniques to management skills, ProStart’s industry-driven curriculum provides real-world educational opportunities and builds practical skills and a foundation that will last a lifetime. By bringing industry and the classroom together, ProStart gives students a platform to discover new interests and talents and opens doors for fulfilling careers. It all happens through a curriculum that teaches all facets of the restaurant and foodservice industry, inspires students to succeed, and sets a high standard of excellence for students and the industry.  With national and local support from industry members, educators, the NRAEF, and state restaurant associations, ProStart reaches 90,000 students nationwide.