Members of 10 teams of high school students were awarded scholarships at the 15th Annual National ProStart Invitational after two days of intense culinary and restaurant management competition in Grapevine, Texas.
Nearly 400 student competitors from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) ProStart program competed in two distinct competitions—management and culinary—that showcase the most important skills needed on either side of the restaurant and foodservice industry.
Sponsored by Golden Corral and Cargill, the culinary competition tested the teams’ creative abilities as they prepared a three-course meal in 60 minutes, using only two butane burners. They were evaluated on taste, skill, teamwork, safety, and sanitation.
Students competing in the management competition, sponsored by Ecolab, were tasked with developing a proposal for the next promising restaurant concept, which they presented to a panel of industry judges. Their problem-solving skills were also put to the test as they had to quickly solve challenges faced by managers daily.
The 2016 National ProStart Invitational team winners are:
- Culinary: Polaris Career Center; Middleburg Heights, Ohio
- Management: New Caney High School; New Caney, Texas
- Culinary: Plymouth Canton Educational Park; Canton, Michigan
- Management: Eastside High School; Gainesville, Florida
- Culinary: Academy of Culinary Arts at Byron Nelson; Trophy Club, Texas
- Management: Grandview High School; Aurora, Colorado
- Culinary: Olathe Public Schools; Olathe, Kansas
- Management: Saginaw Career Complex; Saginaw, Michigan
- Culinary: South Salem High School; Salem, Oregon
- Management: Sauk Rapids-Rice High School; Sauk Rapids, Minnesota
The first and second place scholarships, $5,000 and $3,000, respectively, as well as an awards dinner honoring the winners of each competition, were sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company. Darden Restaurants Foundation, Popeye’s, and Georgia-Pacific offered cash scholarships for the third through fifth place culinary and management teams in amounts ranging between $500 and $1,500. The Burger King McLamore Foundation sponsored an additional scholarship of $1,000, which was distributed to every winning student through the Burger King Scholars Program. The scholarships grant each winner funds to continue their restaurant or foodservice education at a college or university of their choice.
“Congratulations to all of our winners,” says Rob Gifford, executive vice president of NRAEF. “We are so proud of each and every one of the teams. These students are the future of the restaurant industry, and we look forward to seeing what they accomplish next.”
In addition to competing, students were encouraged to take full advantage of the National ProStart Invitational by meeting with schools, recruiters, and restaurant and foodservice industry leaders to discuss higher education and career paths in the industry.