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Cloudcroft High and Taos High to Compete for National Honors and Scholarships at the Ninth Annual
National ProStart Invitational
Competition Spotlights Future Leaders of the Restaurant Industry

ProStart high school students from 39 states and territories will compete in a three-day competition at the ninth-annual National ProStart Invitational at the end of April. The student teams demonstrate their culinary skills and knowledge of restaurant management in this fast-paced competition before more than 800 fellow students, educators, mentors, state restaurant association executives, and board members of the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF.
“The National ProStart Invitational brings together current and future industry leaders for a high-energy event that showcases the skills and talents of high school students from across the nation,” said Dawn Sweeney, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association and National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “The passion for our industry displayed by these students is truly inspiring. I highly encourage everyone to get involved with our ProStart program to support and mentor these talented future leaders.”
The National ProStart Invitational consists of two competitions management and culinary and teams must win first place in their state competition to advance to the national event. This year New Mexico will be represented by Taos High in the culinary competition and Cloudcroft High in the management competition. Each of the team members received scholarship opportunities from the International Culinary Schools at the Art Institutes, Johnson and Wales University, and the New England Culinary Institute and will compete for more at the national event.
This year, the event featured a new management competition format designed to better engage students and showcase their management skills. Participating teams developed a proposal for an original restaurant concept, delivered a presentation, and applied critical thinking skills to challenges restaurant managers face in day-to-day operations.
Teams participating in the culinary competition demonstrated their creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes using only two butane burners. This years culinary competition also included a new element poultry fabrication. The performance of teams in both the management and culinary events is observed and rated by judges from industry and academia.
Nearly 100 students participated in the New Mexico ProStart Invitational hosted by Ben E. Keith on March 31, 2010. The following schools were represented: Alamogordo High, Cloudcroft High, Clovis High, Gadsden High, Grants High, Las Cruces High, Manzano High, Mayfield High, Pojoaque High, Sandia High, Taos High, and Valley High. In the culinary competition Gadsden High placed second and Sandia High placed third. Sandia High also had the honor of placing second in the management competition and Taos High placed third.
Nationwide, 83,000 students in 47 states, territories and districts are served by ProStart, a two-year curriculum supported by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and state restaurant associations across the United States. In New Mexico, 37 schools and 1,600 students are served by the program and supported by the Hospitality Industry Education Foundation and the New Mexico Restaurant Association. The career-building program blends classroom learning with mentored work experience to teach high school students the management and culinary skills needed for a career in the restaurant and foodservice industry. When students meet academic standards, complete a checklist of competencies, and work at least 400 hours in the industry, they are awarded the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement that signifies they are well qualified to enter the industry workforce. For more information on the ProStart program and National ProStart Invitational, visit prostart.restaurant.org or call Victoria Martinez at 800-432-0740.

The Hospitality Industry Education Foundation (HIEF) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fulfilling the educational mission of the New Mexico Restaurant Association. In addition to administering the ProStart Program, HIEF awards scholarships to students pursuing a degree in the hospitality industry. To learn more about HIEF programs call 1-800-432-0740.

The New Mexico Restaurant Association’s mission is to empower the food and beverage industry by promoting and protecting common values and interests. It has more than 1,000 members in 111 cities all over New Mexico, who join together for meetings, seminars and the hospitality industry awards to honor the industry’s top achievers. It has actively represented and promoted the food service industry in New Mexico since 1946.