NPI 2013 Brings National High School Culinary and Management Competitors to Maryland

[The National ProStart Invitational is being held this weekend in Baltimore. Foodservice Monthly editor is the immediate past chairman of the Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation … the 2012 and 2013 host for the competition. What follows is the story that appeared in the April issue of FSM which covered the state invitationals for Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.]

Cape Henlopen High School culinary and William Penn High School management

Baltimore and the Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation are hosting the 12th annual National ProStart Invitational (NPI) April 19 – 21 under the direction of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF). This rigorous competition brings together more than 350 top ProStart students from 44 states, territories and Department of Defense bases to compete for the national titles, as well as scholarships to help fund their college education.

“The National ProStart Invitational competition is designed to motivate and reward students from the two-year ProStart program who have won their state events,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of philanthropic initiatives for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

The National ProStart Invitational is the country’s premier high school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts. More than 900 attendees, including industry and academic leaders, NRAEF board members, state restaurant association representatives, ProStart educators, friends and family members will be there cheering on student competitors from across the U.S.

“Building a pipeline of industry talent is a key imperative for the NRAEF, and through ProStart, our cornerstone program, we are creating life-changing experiences that train students both in the classroom and on the job,” said Gifford. “Participants and winners from previous competitions have gone on to have rewarding careers in the restaurant industry, and each year we continue to develop some of the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s leaders.”

With national and local support from industry members, educators, the NRAEF and state restaurant associations, ProStart is taught in 1,700 schools.

The ProStart Invitational is being held at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel.


‘You Can Go Where Ever You Want in This Industry’

Cape Henlopen High School students will spend the next month fine-tuning their culinary skills before the National ProStart Invitational.

“We have to know our strengths and weaknesses,” said junior Nathan Griffith, a member of the winning culinary team at the first Delaware ProStart Invitational. The Lewis, Del., school will join William Penn High School in Wilmington, which won the management competition, as the state’s representatives at the National ProStart Invitational in Baltimore.

“Our teacher pushed us to the limit and told us to expect the worst,” said Mariela Quintana, a member William Penn’s winning management team. “We were ready.”

Six schools participated in the competition, a component of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s ProStart program. They were competing for thousands of dollars in scholarships from at least six culinary schools. Delaware began offering the two-year curriculum in its high schools last year. Overall, 1,500 students from 11 schools participate in the Delaware ProStart program.

“You can go where ever you want in this industry,” Xavier Teixido, immediate past chairman of the NRAEF and a former NRA chairman, told the Delaware students. Teixido, who hosted the event at his flagship restaurant, Harry’s Savoy Grill, said the event was a great learning experience for the students, educators and judges. “Next year, some of these students will say, ‘I can’t wait to do this again.'”

For restaurant owners, the ProStart competitions are opportunities to look for future employees with teamwork skill and a love of the craft and profession, Teixido said.

“Look at the that young man handling his knives, the way he puts them away with respect, and the way his team mates are cleaning up,” he said. “This is the star of the professionalism they’re building.”

“You need that anywhere,” said Tiara Duffy, 17, a member of Cape Henlopen’s management team.

The students have been practicing for several months, rehearsing their management presentations, anticipating judges’ questions or honing knife cuts, food safety practices and cooking techniques.

“It’s life-changing,” said Kevin Castro, a member of William Penn’s winning management team. The high school junior said he wants to major in culinary and hospitality management at Johnson & Wales University and eventually open his own restaurant.

“You guys rocked today,” said Carrie Leishman, president and CEO of the Delaware Restaurant Association. “You should be very proud of yourselves. Welcome to a fantastic ride.”

source: Linda Busche, National Restaurant Association


High School Students Rise to the Top at MPSI

by Marshall Weston, President and CEO Restaurant Association of Maryland

Howard High School

Howard High School

The Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation will be sending a culinary team from Howard High School and a management team from the Carver Center for the Arts and Technology to compete in the 12th Annual National ProStart Invitational at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel.

These schools placed first in their respective competitions at the Maryland ProStart Student Invitational held at the Baltimore Convention Center, earning their chance to represent Maryland at the competition. The teams will compete against 44 other qualifying teams from across the country for a chance to win the national title.

The culinary team from Howard High School includes Darcey Bodziony, Jessica Green, Natalie Singleton, Emma Spalding and Kiran Martin. Dana Spoto and Ronda Lang are their culinary instructors at the school and they were mentored by Chef Marc Dixon of Bistro Blanc restaurant.

The Carver Center for the Arts and Technology management team members are Arielle Baird, Isaac Krell, Michael Baumohl, Samantha Landwehr and Celeste O’Keefe who were mentored by Gail Furman from Max’s Tap House and Raven Wilkes, former ProStart State Champion. Their teacher, Bette Mullins, has led a team to first place in the management competition for several

Carver Center for the Arts and Technology

Carver Center for the Arts and Technology

years in a row.

The culinary competition gave each team ONE HOUR to create an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Judges scored each team on proper food safety and sanitation procedures, proper cooking methods, food taste, teamwork, knife skills, poultry fabrication and menu difficulty. Teams also had to price their menu to a 33% food cost and demonstrate their knowledge of menu development and pricing. The judges for the culinary competition were from leading culinary schools and the foodservice industry in Maryland and around the country.

The management team had to demonstrate their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by developing a business proposal for a new restaurant concept. The business proposal consisted of a defined restaurant concept, supporting menu, and supporting marketing plan. Teams prepared a comprehensive written proposal, verbal presentation and visual display that described in detail their concept. The team members made a presentation to a panel of judges who acted as potential investors in their new concept.

As you can see, there are a lot of great things going on in the ProStart schools around Maryland, and across the country. These competitions are preparing students for real world experience in the foodservice industry. In addition to the scholarships, life lessons and bragging rights, the competitions are just downright fun. Instead of watching television shows about other people competing in culinary competitions or turning a business around, these students are doing it. They are the perfect future employees for our industry.

If you haven’t already, take the time to learn more about the ProStart program, the Maryland ProStart Student Invitational and the National ProStart Invitational.  Go to for more information and to get involved. You could be the next mentor to help a high school team achieve their goals!


Phoebus High School Sweeps 10th Annual VPSI

Phoebus High School management

Phoebus High School management

Two teams from Phoebus High School in Hampton, Va. took top honors in the culinary and management competitions at the 10th Annual Virginia ProStart Student Invitational (VPSI) held at the University of Mary Washington campus in Fredericksburg, Va. Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association Education Foundation (VHTAEF) ProStart coordinator Rebecca Reamer produced the two-day event. With a pool of over $1.3 million in scholarship money available for the top three teams in each competition, Phoebus won over 20 other competing culinary and management teams.

The Phoebus culinary team includes Andrew Elder, Maria Coes, Chandala Waters, Queen Wooten and alternate Dominique Revis. The instructor is Sophia Christian-Holiday. The management team is comprised of DeYontre Williams, Kymond Jacobs, Jazmine Kearney, Camrin Figueroa and alternate Khare Morgan-Britt. The instructor is Delrose Adkinson.

“Each year we have the honor of welcoming the Best of the Best Virginia

Phoebus High School Culinary

Phoebus High School Culinary

ProStart students to compete for scholarships and to decide who will represent Virginia in the National ProStart Competition,” said Patrick Foley, VHTAEF Chairman. “These students are to be commended for their commitment and enthusiasm. Each of the competitors, win lose or draw are proof that the future of our industry is in good hands.”





About the Author

Foodservice Monthly is the newsmagazine foodservice professionals rely on.

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.