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High School Students From 39 States to Compete for National Honors and Scholarships at the Ninth Annual National ProStart Invitational

(Chicago) ProStart high school students from 39 states and territories will compete in a three-day competition at the ninth-annual National ProStart Invitational next month, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced today. The student teams will demonstrate their culinary skills and knowledge of restaurant management in this fast-paced competition before more than 800 fellow students, educators, mentors, state restaurant association executives, and board members of the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF.

 

Contact: Megan Meyer (312) 715-6741

Competition spotlights future leaders of the restaurant industry

(Chicago) ProStart high school students from 39 states and territories will compete in a three-day competition at the ninth-annual National ProStart Invitational next month, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced today. The student teams will demonstrate their culinary skills and knowledge of restaurant management in this fast-paced competition before more than 800 fellow students, educators, mentors, state restaurant association executives, and board members of the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF.

The winners will receive scholarships to continue their education to become the next generation of restaurant industry leaders. The 2010 National ProStart Invitational will be held April 30 - May 2 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kan.

"The National ProStart Invitational brings together current and future industry leaders for a high-energy event that showcases the skills and talents of high school students from across the nation," said Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. "The passion for our industry displayed by these students is truly inspiring. I highly encourage everyone to get involved with our ProStart program to support and mentor these talented future leaders."

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 and The Coca-Cola Company 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 2009, $1.1 million in scholarships were awarded to winning students.

In 2010, the event will feature a new management competition format designed to better engage students and showcase their management skills. Participating teams will develop a proposal for an original restaurant concept, deliver a presentation, and apply critical thinking skills to challenges restaurant managers face in day-to-day operations.

Teams participating in the culinary competition will demonstrate their creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes using only two butane burners. This year's culinary competition will also include a new element - poultry fabrication. The performance of teams in both the management and culinary events is observed and rated by judges from industry and academia.

More than 4,000 ProStart students will compete at the state level. Then, 275 will move on to the National ProStart Invitational. This year, both Mississippi and Texas will be sending a culinary and a management team to compete for the first time. The complete roster of states and territories participating in the National ProStart Invitational includes: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The Coca-Cola Company is the premier sponsor of the National ProStart Invitational. Additional sponsors include Chef Works, Cracker Barrel, Dexter-Russell, Inc., Golden Corral, The International Culinary Schools at The Art Institutes, McCormick for Chefs, Sodexo, Inc., and Sysco.

Nationwide, 83,000 students in 47 states, territories and districts are served by ProStart, a two-year curriculum supported by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and state restaurant associations across the United States. The career-building program blends classroom learning with mentored work experience to teach high school students the management and culinary skills needed for a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry. When students meet academic standards, complete a checklist of competencies, and work at least 400 hours in the industry, they are awarded the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement that signifies they are well qualified to enter the industry workforce. For more information on the ProStart program and National ProStart Invitational, visit http://prostart.restaurant.org.

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