Culinary Excellence and Tremendous Determination Vault Two Texas Teams to The Winner’s Circle at the 18th Annual National Prostart Invitational

First Place Culinary Team Dr. Gene Burton College & Career Academy (Rockwall, TX) and First Place Restaurant Management Team Ben Barber Innovation Academy (Mansfield, TX) Triumphed - click here to watch the recap video.

WASHINGTON, DC – May 13th, 2019 – Dr. Gene Burton College & Career Academy from Rockwall, Texas won first place in culinary arts and Ben Barber Innovation Academy from Mansfield, Texas won first place in restaurant management, beating out national ProStart teams and winning the 2019 National ProStart Invitational (NPSI) – the nation’s premier high school culinary arts and restaurant management competition hosted by The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF)

Photos of the two winning teams of the 2019 National ProStart Invitational

For more photos from the 2019 National ProStart Invitational, click here and here.

“After several years of being hosted in cities around the country, we were excited to bring the National ProStart Invitational to Washington, D.C. this year, the city where the National Restaurant Association was founded 100 years ago,” said Rob Gifford, Executive Vice President of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “Our ProStart students had the opportunity to show off their exceptional skills and compete for scholarships and bragging rights in front of top business leaders, government officials, and industry influencers. We were also thrilled to recognize this year's top educators in the country with our ProStart Educators of Excellence Awards.”

The winning menu by Dr. Gene Burton College & Career Academy featured a sesame-crusted ahi tuna with mango, fennel, and wasabi salad appetizer, oven-roasted beef tenderloin and pan-seared lobster with crab-stuffed mushrooms and assorted vegetables as an entrée, and a glazed white chocolate chai mousse and ginger Swiss meringue with apple cranberry compote and ginger cookie crumble for dessert. The team from Ben Barber Innovation Academy won first place for restaurant management with “Mezzo y Medio,” a Latin, American, and Italian fusion restaurant concept.

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


  1. Dr. Gene Burton College & Career Academy in Rockwall, Texas

  2. Herndon Career Center in Raytown, Missouri

  3. Anderson Career and Technology Center in Williamston, South Carolina

  4. Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne, New Jersey

  5. Leto High School in Tampa, Florida

Restaurant Management:

  1. Ben Barber Innovation Academy in Mansfield, Texas

  2. East Ridge High School in Clermont, Florida

  3. Provo High School in Provo, Utah

  4. Wilson Central High School in Lebanon, Tennessee

  5. Kalamazoo Resa North West in Kalamazoo, Michigan

This year, the NRAEF brought the ProStart Educators of Excellence Awards to NPSI, spotlighting Jody Fowler (Missouri), Ashley Kurth (Florida), Brian Greene (Indiana) and the James H. Maynard Teacher of the Year, Mary Beth Brace from Bergen County Academies in New Jersey, recognizing their excellence and passion in the classroom and their creativity in all aspects of the ProStart program. 

Photo of 2019 ProStart Educators of Excellence Award nominees

Guest appearances included Ted Allen, host of “Chopped” on the Food Network and author of “In My Kitchen,”; Chef Jerome Grant, Executive Chef at the National Museum of African American History and Culture and Sous Chef at the National Museum of the American Indian; Nicole Silva, entrepreneur and founder of Crumbles by Nicole and a finalist on ABC’s “The Great Holiday Baking Show,” and Chef Kwame Onwuachi, winner of the James Beard Award Rising Star Chef of the Year, author of “A Young Black Chef,” and creator and Executive Chef at Kith and Kin. Students had the opportunity to learn from and interact with these industry influencers, as well as additional industry thought-leaders throughout the competition weekend. 

Hosted by the NRAEF, winners’ scholarships can be used at the college or university of their choice to continue their restaurant/foodservice educations. Past NPSI 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 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


Jasmine Jones, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation 
(240) 723-5198  

Chloe Magliato, Grey
(631) 905-8298 

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