High School Students from 41 States to Compete for National Honors and $1.3 Million in Scholarships at the 11th Annual National ProStart Invitational

(BALTIMORE) ProStart students are sharpening both their knives and their presentations as they gear up for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) 11th Annual National ProStart Invitational, which will kick off Friday, April 27th in Baltimore, Maryland.  More than 800 attendees – industry and academic leaders, National Restaurant Association and Educational Foundation Trustees, state restaurant association representatives, ProStart educators, and family members – will be present to cheer on the top 300 ProStart student competitors hailing from 41 states and U.S. territories. The student teams will demonstrate their culinary skills and knowledge of restaurant management in this fast-paced competition.
In line with the core mission of the NRAEF – to promote career opportunities and pathways in the restaurant and foodservice industry through programs, partnerships and outreach – the ProStart winners will be awarded $1.4 million in scholarships to continue their academic and culinary education.
“The National ProStart Invitational highlights the power of the ProStart program, showcasing the culinary techniques and management skills of tomorrow’s workforce leaders, both in restaurants and in other industries,” said Lynette McKee, executive director of the NRAEF.  “The value of the ProStart program can be seen so vividly in the passion for our industry displayed by these students. Encouraging their enthusiasm and fostering their growth are just two of the important benefits that the program imparts to these talented future leaders.”
ProStart is a nationwide, two-year program that develops the best and brightest high school students into the next generation of restaurant operators and chefs. 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. In addition to displaying the skills they have honed through ProStart, the competitors take full advantage of this opportunity to network and build an outstanding foundation for their future career success.
Management teams develop a proposal for an original restaurant concept and apply critical thinking skills to challenges restaurant managers face in day-to-day operations.  The culinary competition highlights the creative abilities of each team through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes using only two butane burners.  The performance of teams in both the culinary and management events is observed and rated by expert judges from industry and academia. The NRAEF awards 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 2011, more than $1.4 million in scholarships were awarded.
With national and local support from industry members, educators, the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF and state restaurant associations, ProStart reaches more than 90,000 students in 1,700 high schools across 47 states, Guam, and U.S. military bases. Through a curriculum including all facets of the restaurant and foodservice industry, it gives students a platform to discover new interests and talents and to open doors for fulfilling careers of all kinds with a high standard of excellence. For more information on the ProStart program, please visit www.prostart.restaurant.org or find us on Twitter or Facebook.
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As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) enhances the restaurant industry's service to the public through education, community engagement, and promotion of career opportunities. The restaurant and foodservice industry comprises 960,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of nearly 13 million employees, making it one of the nation's largest employers. The NRAEF is focused on working with the Association to lead America's restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence and participation by providing the valuable tools and resources needed to educate our current and incoming employees. For more information on the NRAEF, visit www.nraef.org.     


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