Virginia ProStart Competition on Front Burner

Thirty-nine hundred students took to the kitchen this year in classrooms all across the Commonwealth. And like many students before them, this year’s class has aspirations to graduate high-school with a ProStart Certification of Achievement, and possibly even head off to pursue higher education in culinary arts and restaurant management.
For those who don’t know, ProStart is a nationwide, two-year program that unites the classroom with the foodservice industry. It develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice industry leaders. In the program, students learn essential kitchen skills, including food safety and knife cuts, as well as important management lessons, such as menu development and marketing.
This year, the Virginia ProStart Student Invitational (scheduled for March 10, 2017 in Blacksburg) will provide a hands-on opportunity for students to demonstrate the skills they learned throughout the year and be judged by Virginia’s top industry professionals. The competition is split into two parts — Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management.
Last year, the top three teams in each competition also became eligible for nearly $1 million in scholarships from culinary and restaurant schools across the country.
To help this 14th Annual Invitational run, Virginia ProStart and the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association Education Foundation are seeking industry professionals to volunteer as judges, timers and aids. We are also in need of industry and culinary program sponsors to help us truly make this a successful event and further encourage students to pursue higher-education opportunities.
Please take a few minutes to learn more about the competition at, and contact Jim Wilson ( if you would like to learn more about sponsoring or volunteering.
by Eric D. Terry
ERIC TERRY is president of the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging and Travel Association and is a seasoned leader in hospitality who brings more than 30 years of experience in restaurants, hotels, casinos and entertainment venues to VRLTA

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