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National Restaurant Association - 10 sources of top talent

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10 sources of top talent

Where can you find top-rated culinary and hospitality recruits? Look no further than the top teams at the National ProStart Invitational.

The 400 participants competed for $1 million in scholarships from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, sponsors and culinary institutions. Forty-six teams participated in the culinary competition, where they completed a three-course meal on two butane burners in an hour. The 42 management teams developed hypothetical restaurant concepts and answered tough questions from judges on their business plans, marketing tactics, menu development and costs, decor, management practices and other elements of running a restaurant.

Here are the best of the best:

First place culinary: Polaris Career Center, Middleburg Heights, Ohio

They had to miss their senior prom to compete, but it was worth it for Emily Leopold (right) and sister and brother Amber and Dakota Stevens. "We accomplished what we wanted to do," Dakota Stevens (second from left) says. What gave them the edge? Teamwork, says junior Therese Napier (center). The team stayed calm, on task and focused. And by applying what they learned from judges' feedback, the team was more organized and confident than when it finished last year, Leopold says.

First place management: New Caney High School, Texas

New Caney placed third in last year's competition, but the four women on the team were all first-year competitors. Their concept: a military-theme, American cuisine restaurant centered around first responders. What set them apart? Repeatedly taking their concept apart and looking for ways to make it better, says junior Yarumi Guerro. They hope their success will give other girs confidence for next year, senior Hayley Lewis adds.

Second place culinary: Plymouth Canton Educational Park, Canton, Michigan

Second place management: Eastside High School, Gainesville, Florida

Third place culinary: Academy of Culinary Arts at Byron Nelson, Trophy Club, Texas

Third place management: Grandview High School; Aurora, Colorado

Fourth place culinary: Olathe Public Schools, Kansas

Fourth place management: Saginaw Career Complex, Michigan

Fifth place culinary: South Salem High School, Oregon

Fifth place management: Sauk  Rapids-Rice High School, Minnesota


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