Nestlé Professional Commits $1 Million to Support the Next Generation of Restaurant, Foodservice and Hospitality Leaders

Partners with National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to attract, empower and advance today’s and tomorrow’s workforce

WASHINGTON, DC – Tuesday, March 3, 2021 – The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced today Nestlé Professional has committed $1 million to support young people from all backgrounds pursuing a future in the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry.

Nestlé Professional’s contribution will be used to enhance and grow the NRAEF’s ProStart® Program. ProStart is the nation’s leading high-school culinary arts and restaurant management training program with more than 140,000 students enrolled and 1,700 participating schools. Nestlé Professional has a long history of helping young people acquire the necessary skills to be successful in the industry.  They have also been a strong supporter of the Foundation and ProStart since 2017.


“We are thrilled to work with Nestlé Professional on training and mentoring young people who are passionate about our industry,” said Rob Gifford, President, NRAEF. “As restaurants begin to reopen and the industry rebuilds, there will be new opportunities for our nation’s youth both in culinary and management.  ProStart students leave high school well-trained and ready to work, or continue their education at any of the top secondary schools in the country.”

Laurent Freixe, CEO of Nestlé for the Americas and founder of the Nestlé Needs YOUth program is highly enthusiastic about the Nestlé Professional and ProStart collaboration. “We want young people to become creative innovators, successful agripreneurs, entrepreneurs and game changers regardless of their field or level of expertise. The YOCUTA (Young Culinary Talents) program can help prepare youth to find not just a job, but a rewarding lifelong profession with the potential for a successful career in the foodservices industry, and the opportunity to create their own business as well,” Freixe said.


Prior to the pandemic, Nestlé Professional hosted 130 Ohio ProStart students at their headquarters in Solon, Ohio. Students connected with Nestlé Professional Chefs from around the world, learned about career pathways in the restaurant and foodservice industry, and explored hands-on culinary experience in the official Nestlé Professional Test Kitchen.

“Our goal is to empower youth to gain access to employment through the foodservice industry,” said Perry Miele, President of Nestlé Professional USA. “Our Young Culinary Talents Program (YOCUTA) is designed to address the specific needs of our industry. It’s not just about getting a job. It’s about helping students acquire the skills and knowledge to build a career.”

Nestlé Professional Hosts Live “ProStart Pro Tips” Session – March 30th

On Tuesday, March 30, Nestlé Professional and the NRAEF will celebrate their new partnership by hosting a special training session for ProStart students – the first in a series of “Nestlé ProStart Pro Tips” virtual events. In March, Nestlé Professional chef and food stylist Tom Moran will share career advice and best practices for food styling and food photography. Go to the ProStart Instagram page for additional details.


About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation: 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 and justice-involved incarcerated individuals 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 on the NRAEF, visit

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Jasmine Jones

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