Creativity, Skill and Determination Pay Off Big for Winners of the 17th Annual National Prostart Invitational – First Place Culinary Team Herndon Career Center in Missouri; First Place Restaurant Management Team Wilbur Cross High School in Connecticut

$200,000 in Scholarships to Top Five Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management Teams at the Rhode Island Convention Center
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – April 30, 2018 – After months of practice and state competitions, Herndon Career Center from Raytown, Missouri won first place in culinary arts and Wilbur Cross High School from New Haven, Connecticut won first place in restaurant management, outscoring teams from across the nation and around the world to win the 2018 National ProStart Invitational – the nation’s premier high school culinary arts and restaurant management competition hosted by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

“ProStart students belong to a very special group that we affectionately call ‘ProStart Nation,’” said Rob Gifford, Executive Vice President of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “Since we launched ProStart 17 years ago, we have graduated more than half-a-million students. We’re thrilled to see where this year’s competitors’ careers will take them as they set out and commit to the restaurant industry.”
Herdon Career Center won with an ambitious menu, featuring a butter poached Maine lobster and saffron couscous appetizer, pine nut pork tenderloin paired with truffle Yukon potato and vegetable bouquetiere entrée and a raspberry dark chocolate Bavarian for dessert. The team from Wilbur Cross High School in Connecticut won first place for restaurant management with a women-owned ice cream shop concept on a mission to create awareness and pathways for women to enter into the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

See below for the top five winning teams in culinary and restaurant management:

  1. Herndon Career Center in Raytown, Missouri
  2. Rockwall High School in Rockwall, Texas
  3. Anderson Career and Technology Center in Williamston, South Carolina
  4. Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne, New Jersey
  5. Oakland Schools Technical Campus Northwest in Village of Clarkston, Michigan
Restaurant Management:
  1. Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, Connecticut
  2. North Buncombe High School in Weaverville, North Carolina
  3. Wilson Central High School in Lebanon, Tennessee
  4. Carver Middle High School in Carver, Massachusetts
  5. Grandview High School in Aurora, Colorado
With surprise appearances from Ted Allen, host of “Chopped” on the Food Network and author of “In My Kitchen,” and Nicole Silva, entrepreneur and founder of Crumbles by Nicole and a finalist on ABC’s “The Great Holiday Baking Show,” all attending students had the opportunity to interact with more than 80 industry leaders throughout the competition weekend.
Hosted by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, winners’ scholarships can be used at the college or university of their choice to continue their restaurant/foodservice educations. Past National ProStart Invitational winners have gone on to establish careers at some of the best restaurants in the world, including Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York and Alinea in Chicago.
About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF): As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts.
The NRAEF and its programs work to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and, the Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry.
For more information, visit ChooseRestaurants.org/ProStart.
For more information, contact:
Jasmine Jones, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
(240) 723-5198
Kat Johnson, Grey
(404) 683-2333
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