www.southwestfoodservice.com |August - September 2022 2022

Talented High School Students Shine

Annual Texas ProStart Invitational

Talented high school students currently studying the business and art of food came together to compete at the anticipated 2022 Texas ProStart Invitational, held March 25-27, in Frisco, Texas. Beloved by participants and spectators alike, the annual competition showcases teams of aspiring young chefs, restaurateurs, and more who are involved in ProStart, a national industry-based culinary arts and hospitality program and curriculum managed in Texas by the Texas Restaurant Association’s (TRA) workforce development arm, the Texas Restaurant Foundation (TRF), for high schools throughout the state.

More than forty teams of 5 high school students each competed in one of two categories: culinary or management.

The 2022 Texas ProStart Invitational Culinary Finalists were:

1st place: Ben Barber and Frontier STEM Academy, Mansfield, TX
2nd place: Dr. Gene Burton College & Career Academy, Rockwall, TX
3rd place: Robert Turner College and Career High School, Pearland, TX

Management Finalists at the 2022 Texas ProStart Invitational were:

1st place: Ben Barber and Frontier STEM Academy, Mansfield, TX
2nd place: The MILE, Midlothian, TX
3rd place: Robert Turner College and Career High School, Pearland, TX

Culinary teams were tasked with preparing a three-course meal in 60 minutes. Judges evaluated the students’ knife skills, teamwork, safety and sanitation, the taste of the food, and menu development, specifically regarding recipes and cost.

Students on management teams competed Shark Tank-style, developing and presenting an original restaurant concept, including a menu, staffing, and marketing plans, then relying on critical thinking skills to address everyday challenges.

In a resounding testament to the strength of the program, the management and culinary teams from Ben Barber and Frontier STEM Academy in Mansfield, Texas, earned first place in their respective categories. The two groups will go on to represent Texas and compete at the National ProStart Invitational in Washington, D.C., set for an in-person return May 6-8, 2022, after the pandemic forced a two-year hiatus. The first-place finish in Texas is a triumphant return for the management team from Ben Barber and Frontier STEM Academy, who earned top Texas honors and then brought home first prize from the National ProStart Invitational in 2019.

The Texas ProStart Program is the largest in the country and focuses on developing the next generation of restaurant and foodservice leaders. Texas ProStart has a long history of sending top competitors to the national competition. The program is industry driven, combining culinary arts and restaurant management training to build practical skills. ProStart provides students a platform to discover new interests while highlighting successful career opportunities across the industry. More than 15,000 students at more than 185 schools participate in ProStart programs throughout Texas every year. The invitational alone draws more than 250 high school students.

“We are so proud of all of these students, whose hard work, brilliant ideas, and ferocious skill were incredibly inspiring,” said Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D., President & CEO of the TRA and TRF. “The future of our hospitality industry here in Texas could not be in better hands.”

To learn more about investing in the future of the Texas restaurant and hospitality industry, go to www.txrestaurant.org/foundation.

The first place culinary team from Ben Barber and Frontier STEM Academy celebrates their win at the 2022 Texas ProStart Invitational, held March 25-27 in Frisco, Texas.

Formed in 1937, the TRA serves as the advocate and indispensable resource for the foodservice industry in Texas. As a leading business association, the TRA represents the state’s $70 billion industry, comprising approximately 50,000 locations and a workforce of 1.3 million employees. Along with the Texas Restaurant Foundation (TRF), the workforce development arm of the TRA, the association proudly continues to protect, advance, and educate a growing industry as the TRA enters its 85th anniversary year. For more information, visit www.txrestaurant.org.

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