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The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) launched a new initiative – Project Taste Test – Servin’ Up Successful Careers – that showcases career opportunities in the foodservice sector. Through a partnership with PepsiCo Foodservice, Project Taste Test is an ongoing video series that features leading industry executives and gives advice to ProStart students seeking a foodservice career. Project Taste Test’s first video features PepsiCo corporate executive research chef Stephen Kalil. Additional Project Taste Test videos will debut during the 2013-2014 school year.
“We are thrilled to launch this first video and ignite the excitement in our next generation of foodservice professionals,” says Rob Gifford, executive vice president of philanthropic initiatives for the NRAEF. "The experts featured in this video series bring a passion to the industry that truly shines through, and we at the NRAEF are eager to share their success stories with our students across the country."
In addition to the video series, which spotlights a day-in-the life of renowned foodservice professionals, Project Taste Test consists of in-classroom discussion and activity guides. The videos and instructor resources highlight the unlimited opportunities available to students who choose to pursue a career in the foodservice industry.
In the first video, Kalil discusses his experience developing and launching new products. He also talks about what he loves about his career and tips for culinary students looking to pursue a similar path in the industry. He finishes the video with advice to always “ask and keep asking; learn and keep learning.”
“It is an honor and a privilege to be part of the inaugural video of the Project Taste Test initiative,” Kalil says. “The NRAEF has been diligent in its mission to enhance the stature of the restaurant industry and these videos will serve as another avenue to excite students about a long-term and upwardly mobile career in foodservice that helps them pursue their dreams and develop as professionals.”
Kalil is both a Certified Executive Chef (CEC) with the American Culinary Federation and a Certified Research Chef (CRC) with the Research Chefs Association. Kalil’s passion for the foodservice industry began in the late 1970s and has carried him through a career with companies including The Cheesecake Factory and Chilli’s Grill and Bar, before joining PepsiCo and Frito Lay in July of 2007. Kalil became the company’s first ever corporate chef and, in his role, he leads and inspires product development through the application of Culinology — the blending of culinary arts with food science and technology. He serves as president of the Research Chefs Foundation and is a member of the American Culinary Federation.
According to the National Restaurant Association, total restaurant and foodservice employment is projected to grow by 11 percent over the next 10 years. The NRAEF is committed to developing a highly-trained and professional talent pool through scholarships and educational programs such as ProStart, a two-year program that brings the industry and the classroom together to give 95,000 high school students nationwide a platform to discover new interests and talents, while opening doors to fulfilling careers.
With national and local support from industry members, educators, state restaurant associations, and the NRAEF, ProStart reaches more than 1,900 high schools and career technical centers in 48 states, in Guam and on U.S. military bases.