National Restaurant Association Solutions announced yesterday the winners of the seventh annual National ProStart Invitational, held April 24-26, 2008 in San Diego, California. Among the field of more than 270 ProStart high school student competitors from 35 states and territories, the teams from Wisconsin and Oregon won top honors in the culinary and management competitions, respectively. The winning students took home medals, prizes, and scholarships, including scholarships from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and The Coca-Cola Company, the premier sponsor of the event.

“It was exciting to witness the talent, dedication and passion the students displayed during this intense three-day competition,” says Bill Nolan, director of ProStart, National Restaurant Association Solutions. “All competing students should be proud of their performance and the leadership they displayed during the competition. These future leaders of our industry put many hours and hard work to prepare for the competition and proved to everyone in attendance that our industry will be well-served by them as they advance in their education and careers.”

More than 750 people were on hand to witness these future stars of the industry in action, including competitors, teachers, mentors, state ProStart coordinators, judges, sponsors, industry representatives, friends and family. The National ProStart Invitational showcased the culinary and management talents of ProStart students from 35 states and territories as they competed in two contests: the culinary and management competitions. To qualify for the national competition, teams won first place in their state competitions held this year by their individual state restaurant associations.

The team from Badger High School in Wisconsin took home first place in the culinary competition. Fruitport High School of Michigan earned second place honors, and Wando High School of South Carolina came in third place. Fourth place honors were awarded to Battle Mountain High School in Colorado and Lorain County JVS of Ohio took home fifth place. In the culinary competition, teams prepared a starter, entree and dessert within 60 minutes and were judged on categories including taste, presentation, safety, sanitation, and teamwork.

In the equally exciting management competition, Bend High School in Oregon took top honors above second place Southern Adirondack Education Center of New York. The team from Technology Center of DuPage in Illinois won third place. Fourth and fifth places were awarded to Carson City High School of Nevada and Tulsa Technology Center in Oklahoma, respectively. To conquer this event, teams demonstrated t heir knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by competing in a case study–where competitors were tested on their communication skills and ability to apply their knowledge of the industry to practical situations–and in a question-and-answer “game show”-style event.

At the Awards Ceremony on Saturday evening, $1.3 million in scholarships were awarded to the top teams in the culinary and management competitions. The NRAEF and The Coca-Cola Company distributed $110,000 in scholarships to the first through fifth place winning students and awards to their high schools’ ProStart programs. In addition, winning students were offered scholarships from Conrad N. Hilton College, Culinary Arts Academy, The Culinary Institute of America, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes, Johnson & Wales University, Kendall College, Le Cordon Bleu Schools North America, New England Culinary Institute, and Professional Culinary Institute.

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