17th Annual New Mexico ProStart Invitational 

Deming High School and Taos High School students advance to the National ProStart Invitational

Albuquerque, New Mexico – March 4,  2019 – The Hospitality Industry Education Foundation (HIEF) has announced the winners from the 17th Annual New Mexico ProStart Invitational. Deming Culinary Team and Taos High School Management Team will be on their way to Nationals this May 8 through 10 in Washington DC. The teams will compete against other state winners from across the country for their chance to win the title of National Champions.

The two teams earned their titles today at the New Mexico ProStart Invitation held on March 4, 2019, at Hotel Albuquerque. It was an action-packed day!

Taos High School and Santa Fe High School took second and third in the culinary competition, Rio Rancho High School and Santa Fe High School took second and third in the management competition.

The Hospitality Cup is awarded to the team with the highest combined scores in both Management and Culinary Competitions. Taos High School took home the 2019 Hospitality Cup.

Management Winners – Taos High School: Aedin  Miller, Jordan Montoya, Makayla Montoya, Miel Tafoya, Instructor: Benjie Apodaca

Taos High School developed a restaurant concept from start to finish, including marketing, costing, and menu planning.  Their custom concept was judged by professional managers, chefs, and restaurant owners from across New Mexico.

Culinary Winners – Deming High School: Lisa Klockgether, Gordo Martinez, Emily Wertz, Instructor: Genevieve Wertz

Deming High’s culinary menu included an appetizer of Dijon vinaigrette-topped orange and grapefruit supreme on a bed of arugula and baby spinach, avocado, and pomegranate seeds.  Their entree was white wine, butter, and herb poached halibut with asparagus, zucchini, and carrots accompanied by pomme de terre soufflé with a lemon tarragon sauce. Dessert included a kiwi coulis crowned with blueberry gelee and a chocolate medallion.

ProStart participants get access to scholarships and college credit to over 60 post-secondary schools.  Today’s winners will have access to over 1 million dollars of tuition and assistance for their 4-year degree.

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.

Brianna Dennis, the Education Director of the New Mexico Restaurant Association is no stranger to the 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.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, the New Mexico Restaurant Association is working with over 35 high schools across the state to introduce over 2400 students to career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality foodservice industries through the 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.

About HIEF:

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.

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.

About Prostart:

ProStart is a two-year educational program supported by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation in partnership with state restaurant associations. 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, visit www.prostart.restaurant.org or find us on Twitter or Facebook.

ProStart teaches the culinary and management skills required by the nation’s restaurant, hospitality, and food service 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 the New Mexico ProStart program please visit https://www.nmrestaurants.org/prostart-program