Congratulations to the winners from the 20th Annual New Mexico ProStart Invitational.

Taos High School Culinary Team and Cloudcroft High School Management Team will be on their way to Nationals, May 2-4 in Washington, D.C.. The teams will compete against other qualifying teams from across the country for their chance to win the national title!

Taos High School – 1st Place Culinary              Cloudcroft High School – 1st Place Management

The two teams competed for their titles this past week at the New Mexico ProStart Invitation held on February 27 at the Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown. It was an action-packed day!

Carlsbad High School and Deming High School took second and third in the culinary competition.

Carlsbad High School – 2nd Culinary                  Deming High School – 3rd Culinary


Taos High School and Silver High School took second and third in the management competition, respectively.

Taos High School – 2nd Management             Silver High School  – 3rd Management


Taos High School won this year’s Hospitality Cup for the best combined Culinary and Management team score.

Taos High School – Hospitality Cup

Kevin Zink, teacher at Carlsbad High School, was named New Mexico’s ProStart Educator of the Year for 2023.

The teams that placed first at the state competition advance to the National ProStart Invitational in two categories – Culinary and Management.  The culinary competition highlights the creative abilities of each team through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes using only two butane burners.  Management teams develop a proposal for an original restaurant concept and apply critical thinking skills to challenges restaurant managers face in day-to-day operations.  The performance of teams in both the culinary and management events is observed and rated by expert judges from industry and academia.

“ProStart is developing the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s industry leaders.  These students have proven their mettle in the New Mexico ProStart Invitational and have the full support of the New Mexico restaurant industry as they move forward,” said Tom Schuch, Education Director, Hospitality Industry Education Foundation.  “ProStart gives students a sense of purpose and helps them feel passionate about their own future – which will be on full display when the students represent New Mexico in the National ProStart Invitational.”

The culinary and management teams will be accompanied by their educators, Adam Medina (Taos) and Joni Watson (Cloudcroft). Culinary team members include Santiago Tafoya, Isaiah Gonzales, Alimar Espinoza-Sack, and Meili Brown. Taos’s Culinary Team Manager was Talia Tank. Cloudcroft’s Management team members include Winney Pollard, Taylor Curtis, and Colby Giles.