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High School Students Named Champions of High Stakes National Culinary Arts and Restaurant Business Competition

Held over the past three days in Anaheim, Calif., the National ProStart Invitational challenged 89 student teams from secondary schools across the nation to create a three-course meal, while corresponding teams presented business proposals for an original restaurant concept.

- Nearly 400 Students from Across the U.S. Competed for Tens of Thousands in
Scholarships and National Acclaim - 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – April 21, 2015 – Students enrolled in the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) ProStart program tested their mettle in a sophisticated, real-world culinary and business management competition focused on the restaurant and foodservice sector. Held over the past three days in Anaheim, Calif., the National ProStart Invitational challenged 89 student teams from secondary schools across the nation to create a three-course meal, while corresponding teams presented business proposals for an original restaurant concept.

The Invitational’s culinary competition showcased each team’s creative abilities through the preparation of an appetizer, entrée and dessert in 60 minutes. With no margin for error, students were measured on preparation, taste, skill, teamwork, safety and sanitation. Management teams developed a business proposal for opening and operating a restaurant, and were asked to solve the types of daily challenges faced by restaurant managers. All teams were evaluated by an expert panel of judges from industry and academia.

The 2015 National ProStart Invitational team winners are:

First Place Culinary: Olathe North High School, Olathe, Kan.
First Place Management: Wando High School, Mount Pleasant, S.C.

Second Place Culinary: South Forsyth High School, Cumming, Ga
Second Place Management: San Diego High School, San Diego, Calif.

Third Place Culinary: Polaris Career Center, Middleburg Heights, Ohio
Third Place Management: Standley Lake High School, Westminster, Colo.

Fourth Place Culinary: Anderson Career and Technology Center, Williamston, S.C.
Fourth Place Management: New Caney High School, New Caney, Texas

Fifth Place Culinary: Simon Sanchez High School, Territory of Guam
Fifth Place Management: Plymouth Canton Educational Park, Canton, Mich.

The NRAEF, Coca Cola, EcoLab, Georgia Pacific, Golden Corral, Popeyes, Inc. and  BURGER KING McLAMORESM Foundation offered cash scholarships for the 1st – 5th place culinary and management teams in amounts ranging from $500 - $5,000. In addition, leading culinary schools and post-secondary institutions offered coveted scholarships to the winning teams. All Invitational competitors – each champions of state competitions held in early 2015 – had the opportunity to meet with schools, recruiters and restaurant and foodservice employers to discuss higher education and career paths in the industry during the event.

One of the largest industry-supported career technical education programs in the nation, each year ProStart impacts more than 118,000 students in nearly 1,700 secondary schools across 48 states, the territory of Guam and U.S. Department of Defense schools in Europe and the Pacific. ProStart unites industry and secondary school classrooms to train students with the skills that help them achieve long-term and rewarding careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry. Research indicates that students and educators agree that ProStart is effective in teaching culinary skills as well as restaurant management theory and practice, including critical employability skills such as teamwork, communication and professional behavior. 70 percent of students enrolled in ProStart programs indicate they plan to pursue post-secondary education.

“These aspiring students who compete in this Invitational represent today’s rising stars and tomorrow’s future leaders of the restaurant and foodservice industry. The Invitational offers them the opportunity to demonstrate what they’ve learned in the classroom through the NRAEF’s ProStart curriculum, and a platform to be noticed by renowned schools, recruiters and executives in the industry,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president, strategic operations and philanthropy for the National Restaurant Association and the NRAEF.

“This annual competition continues to reinforce the critical tie between the industry and classroom that makes the NRAEF’s ProStart program a model for career technical education in the U.S.,” said Mike Hickey, chairman, NRAEF, and executive vice president and president, global institutional, Ecolab, Inc.

For more information on the National ProStart Invitational, visit For more information on the ProStart program, visit or find us on Twitter or Facebook.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation:

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF exists to enhance the restaurant industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. The NRAEF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry. In 2015, the restaurant and foodservice industry is projected to comprise one million outlets and a workforce of 14 million employees, making it the nation’s second largest private sector employer. For more information on the NRAEF, visit

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