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News & Press: National Restaurant Association

Students win state championship and scholarships at SC ProStart Invitational

Wednesday, March 9, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Katie Montgomery
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Winning teams now head to Dallas, TX to compete in national competition




(Charleston) – Culinary students from Wando High School and the West Ashley High School have wowed the judges and brought home the gold in the 14th annual South Carolina ProStart Invitational, which took place March 6-8 in Charleston. The competition brings together students who participate in ProStart, a two-year high school culinary arts program that unites the classroom and restaurant industry to develop the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice leaders. 


Along with bragging rights and scholarships, the winning teams will also head to Dallas, TX in April to compete in the National ProStart Invitational. Wando High School will represent South Carolina in the Restaurant Management Competition and West Ashley High School will compete in the Culinary Arts Competition.


Wando will be competing for back-to-back national championships, as they won the National ProStart Invitational in 2015.


In the South Carolina ProStart Invitational that took place this week at the Embassy Suites Convention Center in North Charleston, around 100 students from 20 high schools across the state faced off in either the Culinary Arts or Restaurant Management contests. The top five teams in each category won medals, and the third, second and first place winners also received scholarships. During the competition, more than $1 million in scholarships was awarded.


In the Culinary Arts Competition, teams had one hour to design, budget, prepare and serve a three-course meal using only two butane burners. Using industry standards, certified chefs judged the gourmet meals prepared by the students.


In the Restaurant Management Competition, teams demonstrated their knowledge by developing a restaurant proposal, delivering a verbal presentation and applying critical thinking skills to challenges managers face in day-to-day operations. Judges also grilled the students with questions about their proposal during a critical thinking session. 


“The excitement was contagious for these talented students. Their dedication and passion were incredible. They are all winners of this intense two-day competition,” said John Durst, President and CEO of the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association.


The SCRLA manages the ProStart program in South Carolina through its South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Educational Foundation, which puts on the annual competition.


All of the students who participated in the event are enrolled in the ProStart program. ProStart is a two-year curriculum designed to teach high school students the management and culinary arts skills they need for a career or to continue their educations in the restaurant and foodservice industry. ProStart currently serves more than 90,000 students in 48 states, districts and territories. 63 high schools in South Carolina offer the program to over 2,500 students. For more information about how you can get involved in ProStart contact the SCRLA office at (803) 765-9000.

See all the winners below!



Culinary Competition Winners:

1st place: West Ashley High School

2nd place: Wando High School

3rd place: Daniel Morgan Technology Center

4th place: Anderson Career and Technology Center

5th place: Pelion High School


Management Competition Winners:

1st place: Wando High School

2nd place: Anderson Career and Technology Center

3rd place: Applied Technology Center

4th place: West Ashley High School

5th place: Academy for Technology and Academics



About ProStart:

The goal of the ProStart Program is to introduce high school students to the broad spectrum of career opportunities in the hospitality industry, to provide industry-relevant curriculum materials for high school classes in restaurant management and culinary arts and to address the short- and long-term workforce needs of the industry by providing student workers and career employees. For more information about the ProStart program, visit or have your student ask their school guidance counselor.

ProStart is a registered trademark of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. ProStart is a nationwide, two-year high school program that unites the classroom and industry to develop the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice leaders. For more information about ProStart visit


About the South Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association:

SCRLA is a statewide, non-partisan trade organization. Our mission is to promote, protect and educate the foodservice and lodging industries of the state and to ensure positive business growth for our members. SCRLA strives to represent the best interests of its members on small business issues, hospitality and tourism concerns and towards the protection of South Carolina's quality of life. For more information about SCRLA visit


Nationwide, more than 90,000 students in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and U.S. military bases are served by ProStart, a two-year program supported by the NRAEF and state restaurant associations across the country.  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, please visit

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