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National Restaurant Association - ProStart to launch in Delaware

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ProStart to launch in Delaware

After Delaware culinary instructors visited the Maryland ProStart Invitational last week, they wanted to be able to offer the same culinary and management experiences to their students.

"They were all pumped up," says Carrie Leishman, president/CEO, Delaware Restaurant Association. "They loved it."

Leishman wanted to show the Delaware teachers what to expect when DRA launches ProStart this fall. About 10 teachers, Leishman and Delaware restaurant operator Xavier Teixido visited the March 1 event organized by the Restaurant Association of Maryland. Teixido, who owns Harry's Hospitality Group, is vice chairman of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

The Delaware delegation watched culinary students prep, cook and clean up and management students present hypothetical restaurant concepts. Afterward, all the teachers wanted to be part of the DRA pilot program that begins in September.

"We think we can be really successful with it," Leishman says.

Originally, DRA planned to start with just three schools − one in each of the state's counties. But it now plans to start with seven or eight schools, she says.

DRA has been working with the state education department and NRAEF since last year to offer ProStart in Delaware high schools. The state had been looking at revamping its consumer and family science curriculum and decided to "bring in the best," Leishman says.

The two-year curriculum teaches culinary art and hospitality management through class work, mentored work experience, and local and national competitions. About 80,000 students participate in more than 1,650 schools in nearly every state.

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