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The Nation’s Best High School Chefs and Future Restaurateurs Start Cooking for Chance to Compete at the National ProStart Invitational

This winter, nearly 400 high school students across the nation will showcase their culinary and restaurant management talents in the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) National ProStart Invitational.

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to Select 2017 Winners at
National ProStart Invitational Set for April 28 - 30 in Charleston, SC

WASHINGTON, D.C. – February 3, 2017 – This winter, nearly 400 high school students across the nation will showcase their culinary and restaurant management talents in the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) National ProStart Invitational.   All state ProStart Invitational winners will be invited to compete for top honors and scholarship money April 28-30 in Charleston, South Carolina.
“We are hosting our 16th annual ProStart Invitational and are always amazed at the creativity and innovation these students bring to the competition each year,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president, NRAEF.“ProStart is the centerpiece of our restaurant and foodservice educational programs and plays an important role in attracting and preparing talented young people for careers in our industry.”
With nearly 140,000 students enrolled in ProStart, the competition is intense and determines which state and which school produces the best of the best.Over the next several months, students will be judged by industry experts at the state level in two competitions – culinary and restaurant management.The culinary teams are required to prepare a three-course meal in 60 minutes, and the restaurant management teams present original concepts, complete with menus, floor plans and marketing strategies.

Winning teams from each state travel to the National ProStart® Invitational where they compete for top honors and more than $50,000 in scholarships from the NRAEF and ProStart sponsors and for scholarships from the nation’s top culinary and hospitality management colleges and universities.  The three-day competition is also an opportunity for the students to network and meet with industry representatives.

“ProStart gives me a platform to reach so many students,” said South Carolina ProStart educator Lisa Dantzler. “It encourages them to learn all of the basics of the food industry and helps them to pursue higher paying jobs, continue their education and training and gain confidence.”

“After competing in a ProStart state competition, I was able to receive scholarship money and attend the New England Culinary Institute,” said Alyssa Van De Vort.“I graduated with my associate of occupational studies degree in baking and pastry and had jobs at Thomas Keller at Bouchon in Beverly Hills, Wolfgang Puck and a Destination Hotel in Palos Verdes, before opening my own baking company in Southern California.”
ProStart and the National ProStart Invitational are made possible through the support of some of the nation’s top restaurant and food service businesses and industry suppliers.To see the ProStart Honor Roll of supporters, visit
ProStart state competitions continue through March and are open to the public. For a complete competition schedule, click here.
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 2016, the restaurant and foodservice industry is projected to comprise one million outlets and a workforce of 14.4 million employees, making it the nation’s second largest private sector employer. For more information on the NRAEF, visit, or find us on or find us on Twitter or Facebook
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