Washington Hilton Hotel | Washington, DC l May 7-9, 2021

Watch NPSI Live from June 4th!

The COVID-19 crisis forced the 2020 National ProStart Invitational (NPSI) to be canceled, but NRAEF is still recognizing and celebrating the program’s talented culinary arts and restaurant management ProStart students. We hosted a special virtual celebration, NPSI Live, on June 4th, featuring guest appearances by celebrity chefs and some of the Foundation’s biggest supporters. The event was held live on the ProStart Facebook page and you can watch the full recording here.

Get all of the details from our press release
Learn more about the NPSI Cancelation and FAQs

2020 NPSI and EEA Cancelation:

We are deeply saddened to inform you that based on the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic and new strict guidelines by the CDC to not hold gatherings of more than 10 people for the next eight weeks, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) is canceling this year’s National ProStart Invitational (NPSI) and its ProStart Educator of Excellence Awards (EEA) scheduled to take place this May in Washington, D.C. 

The safety and well-being of our ProStart students, educators and the many volunteers, judges and sponsors who make NPSI possible is the Foundation’s highest priority. With this decision, our hearts especially go out to all the ProStart students and educators who have worked so hard for a chance to compete at the national level. We understand this will be especially difficult for ProStart students who are leaving the program this year.

To reward those students who were planning to participate in this year's NPSI, our team is busy working on creative ways to recognize them and celebrate their many accomplishments - we will be providing details on our plans with you soon.

For EEA, we plan to recognize this year’s winners at our ProStart Educator event in Las Vegas, NV scheduled to be held July 19 – 21.  A separate communication will be issued to the EEA nominees and their state coordinators with details on the event in the coming weeks.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during these challenging times, and please let Amy Saltzman, our ProStart Program Director (asaltzman@nraef.org) know if you have any questions or need assistance.

We look forward to welcoming you and your teams back to the 2021 National ProStart Invitational.


Rob Gifford
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

Full statement and Frequently Asked Questions

The National ProStart Invitational® (NPSI) is the country's premier secondary school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts. Annually, nearly 400 student competitors put their skills to the test in front of industry leaders, NRAEF Trustees, state restaurant associations, and family and friends - all with hopes of earning coveted scholarships from the nation's best culinary and restaurant management programs.

How The Competition Works

Students must impress judges from leading industry corporations, colleges and universities with skills they've developed through ProStart. The National ProStart Invitational is composed of two distinct competitions - management and culinary.


Management teams develop a proposal for the next promising restaurant concept and present it to a panel of industry judges. Their problem solving skills are tested as they quickly solve challenges faced by managers daily.


The culinary competition highlights each team's creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes, using only two butane burners, and without access to running water or electricity. Students are evaluated on taste, skill, teamwork, safety and sanitation.

What Do You Win?

The top five teams from the culinary and managment competitions are awarded generous educational scholarships to help further their careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry. In 2019, almost $200,000 in scholarships were awarded to winning students.

All competitors are encouraged to take full advantage of competing at the National ProStart Invitational by networking with other students and industry professionals in attendance.

See 2019 Winners & Highlights Here
See 2018 Winners Here

Where to Begin

NPSI is the finale of a nationwide series of state competitions hosted by partner state restaurant associations. To get to the National ProStart Invitational, first find out when and where your state competion is happening.

2020 state competition schedule

Where to End Up

The 2021 National ProStart Invitational will be held on May 7-9 in Washington, DC.


NPSI 2021 Sponsorship Opportunities

Elevate your brand, company mission, and organizational goals to an audience of fellow industry executives and the best of the restaurant industry’s next generation.

Get your company involved

Have Questions?

If you are an educator, mentor, chaperone, parent or school administrator, please contact your
ProStart State Coordinator with questions.


If you are a judge, development guest, board member, exhibitor, post-secondary school, or SRA rep, please direct questions to your NRAEF contact or to prostart@nraef.org

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