New Mexico High Schools compete for a spot in National ProStart Invitational and $1,000,000 in scholarships

Albuquerque, New Mexico – February 20, 2018 – The Hospitality Industry Education Foundation (HIEF) and New Mexico Restaurant Association (NMRA) will host the 16th Annual New Mexico ProStart Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico on March 5, 2018. More than 100 top ProStart students from across the state will demonstrate their mastery of restaurant leadership skills in Culinary and Management in a fast-paced competition to win their share of $1,000,000 in scholarships. The first place team in each category will be crowned the State Champions and represent New Mexico at the National ProStart Invitational, the country’s premier high school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts, in Rhode Island April 28, 2018 thru April 30, 2018.

The culinary teams will prepare a three-course meal in 60 minutes, using only two butane burners with no access to running water or electricity. Management teams will develop and present an entire business proposal for an original restaurant concept

Watch the talented students from these New Mexico ProStart high schools as they compete for the state championship: Alamogordo, Atrisco Heritage, Chaparral, Cloudcroft, Clovis, Deming, Espanola, Gadsden, Questa, Rio Rancho, Ruidoso, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Indian and Taos.

CNM, NMSU-HRTM, and SFCC will also be in attendance to promote their culinary programs.

Brianna Dennis, the Education Director of the New Mexico Restaurant Association, is no stranger to the New Mexico ProStart program. She began judging in 2014 and has been proactive in the ProStart scene ever since. “It is so very exciting that these students, interested in Culinary and Management careers get to experience ProStart in high school, and that they get the opportunity to show off the skills they’ve learned at both State and National competition levels”, exclaims Ms. Dennis. “These students get to compete for thousands of dollars in scholarships to help them further their careers in the Restaurant and Hospitality industry, how awesome is that?”

In the 2017-2018 academic year, the NMRA is working with over 34 high schools across the state to introduce over 1800 students to career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality foodservice industries through the New Mexico ProStart program. Nationally, ProStart is taught in more than 1800 schools and reaches nearly 140,000 students in the United States, Guam and Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe and Asia.

ProStart teaches the culinary and management skills required by the nation’s restaurant, hospitality and foodservice employers. This is achieved through the curriculum – Foundations of Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts – developed in partnership with the industry. With total restaurant and foodservice employment projected to grow by 11% over the next 10 years, the New Mexico Restaurant Association is committed to ensuring the development of a highly-trained and professional talent pool through scholarships and educational programs.

“Thanks to the dedication and leadership of New Mexico Restaurant Association, ProStart is part of a national movement to empower students with the training and opportunities they need to achieve fulfilling, lifelong careers,” said Rob Gifford, executive vice president of philanthropic initiatives for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “ProStart’s industry-driven curriculum offers culinary and management education that opens doors to a wide range of employment paths and opportunities for advancement.”

For more information on this year’s competition click here.

About the New Mexico Restaurant Association:
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 to honor the industry’s top achievers. It has actively represented and promoted the food service industry in New Mexico since 1946. For more information on NMRA, visit

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 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 14 million employees, making it one of the nation’s largest employers. For more information on the NRAEF, visit