SOURCE: National Restaurant Assoc Educational Foundation

National Restaurant Assoc Educational Foundation

May 17, 2011 16:36 ET

ProStart Students Partner With Chicago Food Truck to Raise Money for Student Scholarships

Students Tackle the Latest Culinary Trend, Test Skills Learned in the Classroom

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - May 17, 2011) - In Chicago and across the country, food trucks are becoming popular alternatives for restaurant owners and patrons alike. According the National Restaurant Association's 2011 Forecast, 47 percent of adults said that if one of their favorite restaurants were to offer its menu from a mobile kitchen parked near their home or work place, they likely would take advantage of that service.

In celebration of the upcoming National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, ProStart students from Simeon Career Academy and Tilden Career Community Academy in Chicago will climb aboard the gaztro-wagon, an award-winning food truck based in Chicago, to create, assemble and sell its naan-wiches. While the students are putting their skills to the test May 18 through May 20, gaztro-wagon will be selling a special ProStart naan-wich with a portion of the proceeds benefiting ProStart scholarships.

"ProStart brings together the industry and the classroom to provide the practical skills students need to succeed in the industry," said Sharon Tiknis, interim executive director for the National Restaurant Educational Foundation (NRAEF). "The partnership with gaztro-wagon offers a unique opportunity for ProStart students to gain exposure to the latest culinary trend and to raise funds for ProStart scholarships."

ProStart is the NRAEF's nationwide, two-year program for high school students that teaches culinary techniques and management skills while providing real-world educational opportunities.

As a former NRAEF Salute to Excellence student honor delegate, Matt Maroni of the gaztro-wagon is bringing his NRAEF education full-circle by teaming up with current ProStart students to raise money for the ProStart program.

"As a veteran of the industry, I understand the importance of real-world experience for the restaurant industry's future workforce. I'm proud to provide this opportunity to Chicago ProStart students," said Matt Maroni, owner of the gaztro-wagon. "It's great to be able to give back to a program that recognized me at the start of my career."

To follow the action live, or try out the special ProStart naan-wich, check out the ProStart Twitter feed @ProStart or with gaztro-wagon @wherezwagon. Live-tweeting will be happening throughout each day from May 18 through May 20 including the gaztro-wagon location, updates and photos.

ProStart and gaztro-wagon Location Schedule

Wednesday, May 18
11:45 a.m.
Merchandise Mart
At West Kinzie Street and North Orleans Street
Chicago, IL 60654

Thursday, May 19
11:45 a.m.
Aon Center
At North Columbus Drive and East Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601

Friday, May 20
11:45 a.m.
Willis Tower
At South Wacker Drive and West Van Buren Street
Chicago, IL 60606

About ProStart
ProStart is a nationwide, two-year program for high school students that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow's industry leaders. From culinary techniques to management skills, ProStart's industry-driven curriculum provides real-world educational opportunities and builds practical skills and a foundation that will last a lifetime. By bringing industry and the classroom together, ProStart gives students a platform to discover new interests and talents and opens doors for fulfilling careers. It all happens through a curriculum that teaches all facets of the restaurant and foodservice industry, inspires students to succeed and sets a high standard of excellence for students and the industry. With national and local support from industry members, educators, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and state restaurant associations, ProStart reaches 90,000 students nationwide. For more information on the ProStart program, visit or find us on Twitter or Facebook.

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