For 15 years, Coca-Cola has supported a competition that finds the next generation of talent for the nation’s restaurants and foodservice businesses.
The ProStart Invitational is a two-day, intense culinary and restaurant management competition for high school students from across the United States. This year’s event in Grapevine, Texas, attracted nearly 400 student competitors. Members of 10 teams were awarded scholarships.
The ProStart program, led by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, showcases the most important skills needed for both culinary and management roles. In the culinary competition, teams prepared a three-course meal in 60 minutes using only two butane burners. They were evaluated on taste, skill, teamwork, safety and sanitation. Students in the management competition developed a proposal for the next promising restaurant concept.
Coca-Cola, a founding partner of the ProStart Invitational, has given $8 million in scholarships to the program.
“We witnessed magic happen at the national ProStart competition,” said Roy Jackson, senior vice president of business development and industry Affairs, Coca-Cola North America. “Everyone must watch, taste and see the competition to understand its value to the industry and filling the talent pipeline and its value at developing future leaders.”
Coca-Cola awarded first- and second-place winners with scholarships of $5,000 and $3,000 respectively, as well as sponsored an awards dinner. Winners were:
Culinary: Polaris Career Center; Middleburg Heights, Ohio
Management: New Caney High School; New Caney, Texas
Culinary: Plymouth Canton Educational Park; Canton, Mich.
Management: Eastside High School; Gainesville, Fla.
Culinary: Academy of Culinary Arts at Byron Nelson; Trophy Club, Texas
Management: Grandview High School; Aurora, Colo.
Culinary: Olathe Public Schools; Olathe, Kan.
Management: Saginaw Career Complex; Saginaw, Mich.
Culinary: South Salem High School; Salem, Ore.
Management: Sauk Rapids-Rice High School; Sauk Rapids, Minn.