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National Restaurant Association - State ProStart competitions underway

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State ProStart competitions underway

The journey to the National ProStart Invitational is underway.

As Career and Technical Education month kicks off, thousants of are participating in state-level culinary and management competitions. The winning culinary and management teams from each competition will proceed to the National ProStart Invitational, April 29 through May 1, in Grapevine, Texas.

At stake: More than $1 million in scholarships from the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, sponsors and culinary schools at the National ProStart Invitational.

Students also compete for scholarships at the state competitions, which feature management and culinary competitions.

“Students learn to apply technical knowledge and skills ... so that they can one day get jobs in food production and commercial establishments," Esther Skinner, a culinary arts teacher at Sahuarita (Ariz.) High School recently told the Green Valley News.

For the management segment, teams develop a hypothetical restaurant concept and present their business plan and proposed menu, design and decor to a judging panel of industry leaders. After a brief presentation, the judges questions them about their proposals. Afterward, a second set of judges evaluate students' abilities to think on their feet by questioning them on management challenges, such as an illness outbreak, disruptive employee or malfunctioning equipment.

In the culinary competition, teams prepare three-course meals on two butane burners within an hour. They have no access to running water or electricity.  Judges evaluate the students on skill, teamwork, safety and sanitation.

Before the end of the day, students receive feedback from judges on their performance. The winning teams often use their suggestions to tweak presentations or menus before the National ProStart Invitational.

The state competitions began in mid-January and run through March. Pictured is the winning New Jersey management team.

Sienna Best, a student at Mat-Su Career and Technical High School, in Wasilla, Alaska, recently told the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman: "[ProStart] definitely helps with time management and teamwork.”


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