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Students from Salem & Phoebus High Schools Win Top Honors at 2015 Virginia ProStart Invitational

Wednesday, March 25, 2015  
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Culinary and Management Students from Virginia Beach and Hampton, Virginia to Represent Virginia at National ProStart Invitational in Anaheim, Calif.

Richmond, Va. – March 25, 2015 – The Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association Education Foundation announced today students from Salem High School and Phoebus High School won its annual state ProStart Invitational held in Williamsburg, Va. March 13-14, 2015. Each school will advance to the prestigious National ProStart Invitational — the country’s premier high school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts — April 18-20 in Anaheim, Calif. More than 100 top ProStart students from across the state demonstrated their mastery of restaurant leadership and culinary skills in a fast-paced competition.

Students from Salem High School (Virginia Beach, Va.) were named the Virginia ProStart Invitational culinary champions, and students from Phoebus High School (Hampton, Va.) were named the management champions.

The culinary competition highlights the creative abilities of each team as they prepare a three-course meal in 60 minutes, using only two butane burners. Teams are evaluated on taste, teamwork, safety and sanitation, among other skills. Management teams develop a business proposal for an original restaurant concept and present it to a panel of industry judges, who challenge them to address the issues restaurant managers face on a daily basis.

“The state ProStart competitions are the culmination of students’ hard work and a chance to showcase what they’ve learned,” said Rebecca Meadows, Director of Education and ProStart for the Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association. “Now in its 14th year, the National ProStart Invitational is a prestigious event in which students from Virginia go head-to-head against the best and brightest teams from around the country. Students who have competed at this level have gone on to study at some of the country’s top culinary and management schools and have forged rewarding careers in the restaurant industry.”

ProStart is a nationwide career technical education program where high-school students learn from an industry-derived, competency-based curriculum that teaches culinary techniques and restaurant management skills, coupled with real-life restaurant sector experiences. In addition to industry-specific skills, a majority of ProStart students report learning critical employability skills, including workplace and professional behavior, communications skills and teamwork. ProStart educators are experienced, with a majority having over 13 years of teaching experience as well as experience working in the restaurant industry. All ProStart students are eligible to pursue the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement, an industry-recognized credential that requires the passage of two national exams and the completion of 400 hours of industry-related work experience.

In the 2014-2015 academic year, the Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association is working with 55 high schools across the state to introduce roughly 3,900 students to career opportunities in the restaurant industry through the ProStart program.

“ProStart has become a national model for career technical education and continues to be recognized for its industry-driven curriculum and program design. ProStart students represent the future of our industry — young adults learning the skills necessary to chart upwardly mobile, long-term career paths in the industry,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president, strategic operations and philanthropy for the National Restaurant Association and the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “We congratulate students from Virginia and look forward to seeing them demonstrate their remarkable talent in Anaheim in April.”

Total restaurant and foodservice employment is projected to grow by 11 percent over the next 10 years and the Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association is committed to ensuring the development of a highly-trained and professional talent pool through scholarships and educational programs such as ProStart. With national and local support from industry members, educators, the NRAEF and state restaurant associations, ProStart is taught to students across 49 states, Guam and on Department of Defense military bases. For more information on the ProStart program, visit NRAEF.org/ProStart or find us on Twitter or Facebook.

2015 Virginia ProStart Competition Culinary Winners - Salem High School
2015 Virginia ProStart Competition Culinary Winners - Salem High School
2015 Virginia ProStart Competition Management Winners - Phoebus High School
2015 Virginia ProStart Competition Management Winners - Phoebus High School

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the NRAEF exists to enhance the restaurant industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. The NRAEF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry. The restaurant and foodservice industry comprises 980,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 13 million employees, making it one of the nation's largest employers. For more information on the NRAEF, visit NRAEF.org.

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