SOURCE: National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation

December 13, 2010 17:58 ET

Baltimore Selected as Host City for the 2012 and 2013 National ProStart Invitational

Competition Will Bring 800+ Competitors, Spectators and Industry Leaders to Maryland

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - December 13, 2010) - Baltimore has been chosen as the host for the 2012 and 2013 National ProStart Invitationals, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced today. Held each spring, this rigorous competition brings together teams of ProStart high school state champions from around the country to compete for the national title, as well as scholarships to help fund their college education.

"ProStart is a world-class career-building program that prepares nearly 90,000 students each year for rewarding careers in our industry, and we are pleased to bring the National ProStart Invitational to Baltimore," said Dawn Sweeney, President and CEO, National Restaurant Association and NRAEF. "This competition is a superb forum for students to showcase their culinary and management skills and connect with industry leaders and mentors. The unparalleled support from the Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation and local industry make Baltimore an ideal host city."

In 2010 alone, ProStart -- the NRAEF's proven, high-impact program for high school students -- reaches more than 88,000 students in 1,650 high schools across 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and 14 U.S. military bases at home and abroad. It introduces them to the career opportunities available in the restaurant and foodservice industry, and teaches them the restaurant management and culinary arts skills needed to launch their futures.

The 11th annual National ProStart Invitational will be held April 27-29, 2012, at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel. This fast-paced competition features top ProStart teams from participating states who will showcase their skills before more than 800 fellow students, educators, mentors, state restaurant association executives, and board members of the National Restaurant Association and NRAEF. Currently, $1.4 million in scholarships are awarded to the top teams in both the culinary and management competitions.

"Our ProStart program has grown incredibly over the past couple of years, and we are very proud to showcase our thriving program on the national stage by acting as host state for the National ProStart Invitational," said Marshall Weston, President and CEO, Restaurant Association of Maryland and Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation. "Our local industry has been a tremendous support for the Maryland ProStart program, and we are eager to work with our industry partners to show the ProStart teams what Baltimore has to offer."

"Restaurants and tourism play a vital role in Baltimore's economy. We are thrilled to be hosting the National ProStart Invitational and excited to showcase our city to all the students and families coming in from across the United States," said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

The National ProStart Invitational brings industry and academic leaders together with high school students to help fuel their passion for the industry and demonstrate the opportunities available within it.

Teams that place first at their state competition advance 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.

The 2011 National ProStart Invitational will be held April 30-May 2, 2011, in Overland Park, Kan.

ProStart is a two-year program offered 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 and National ProStart Invitational, visit http://prostart.restaurant.org.

About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) enhances the restaurant industry's service to the public through education, community engagement, and promotion of career opportunities. The restaurant and foodservice industry comprises 945,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of nearly 13 million employees, making it one of the nation's largest employers. The NRAEF is focused on working with the Association to lead America's restaurant industry into a new era of prosperity, prominence and participation by providing the valuable tools and resources needed to educate our current and incoming employees. For more information on the NRAEF, visit www.nraef.org

About the Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation
The Restaurant Association of Maryland Education Foundation (RAMEF) is a nonprofit organization that works with the Restaurant Association of Maryland to educate the hospitality and foodservice workforce of Maryland. RAMEF offers certifications in food safety and responsible alcohol service along with server and hospitality management training. RAMEF also supports the 103 schools in Maryland using the ProStart program, a culinary and hospitality management curriculum for high school students that is endorsed by the Maryland State Department of Education. Scholarships to students and industry professionals are also managed through the Foundation. More information on RAMEF can be found at www.ramef.org.