Students to test culinary skills for scholarship money

FROM STAFF REPORTS

HOOVER—Alabama will host its first high school state-level ProStart Invitational culinary competition at Jefferson State Community College’s Shelby-Hoover campus on Feb. 7. Top ProStart students from across the state will demonstrate their mastery of restaurant leadership skills in the fast-paced competition to win their share of more than $100,000 in scholarships. The first-place team will be crowned the state champions.

The culinary competition highlights the creative abilities of each team as they prepare a three-course meal in 60 minutes, using only two burners with no access to running water or electricity. Teams are evaluated on taste, teamwork, safety and sanitation, among other skills. Management teams develop a business proposal for an original restaurant concept and present it to a panel of industry judges, who challenge them to address the issues restaurant managers face on a daily basis.

“This year, ProStart students from across Alabama have the unique opportunity to compete for top honors and a chance to represent their schools,” Minday Hanan, CEO of the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Alliance, wrote in a news release. “The state ProStart competitions are the culmination of students’ hard work and a chance to showcase what they’ve learned, while competing for scholarships to help support them in their continuing education.”

The Alabama Restaurant & Hospitality Alliance is working with more than 30 high schools across the state to introduce hundreds of students to career opportunities in the restaurant industry through the ProStart program.

ProStart teaches the culinary and management skills required by the nation’s restaurant, hospitality and foodservice employers. This is achieved through the Foundations of Restaurant Management curriculum, developed in partnership with the industry. With total restaurant and foodservice employment projected to grow by 11 percent over the next 10 years, the Alabama Restaurant & Hospitality Alliance 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 Alabama Restaurant & Hospitality Alliance, 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, wrote. “ProStart’s industry-driven curriculum offers culinary and management education that opens doors to a wide range of employment paths and opportunities for advancement.”