Shark Tank meets Chopped at annual student competition in Frisco January 19-20

Jan 12

A group of dedicated high school students throughout Texas are sharpening their knives along with their restaurant management and culinary skills for the 2018 Texas ProStart Invitational Competition. The first of two regional competitions, the Dallas Area Regional will take place on Friday, January 19 and Saturday, January 20 at Collin County College, Preston Ridge Conference Center, 9700 Wade Boulevard in Frisco.

Twenty-two high schools are sending a total of 29 teams, (19 culinary and 10 restaurant management) to compete at the first of two regional Texas ProStart Invitational competitions, produced by the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation (TRAEF). Saturday’s competition will be open to the public from 7:45am to 4:00pm at $15 per person. Winners of all competitions will be announced at an on-site ceremony following scoring tabulation.

“We couldn’t be more proud of the Texas ProStart program. I know that in Lubbock, as well as throughout the state, this program provides the foundation for so many students to pursue meaningful careers in the industry,” said David Cea, TRAEF chairman and co-owner of Orlando’s Italian Restaurant and CapRock Café in Lubbock. “Going through the competition process in particular inspires everyone involved – from the teachers, parents, school administrators and the larger restaurant community. The level of competency and talent we’re seeing is extraordinary.”

The Texas ProStart Invitational is now in its ninth year. All competing schools are part of Texas ProStart, an innovative, industry-based culinary arts and restaurant management curriculum, spearheaded by TRAEF.

The largest ProStart competition in the country, more than 320 students compete in either restaurant management or culinary category in two regional competitions (Dallas and Houston), with the top six teams from each category in each regional advancing to a State Final competition in March (San Antonio). The winning teams from the State Finals then advance to represent Texas at the National ProStart Invitational, which is being held in Providence, Rhode Island on April 27-29.

Students competing in the management teams must develop a concept for a new restaurant and present it to judges from industry and post-secondary education. Students are evaluated on their concept, marketing strategies, menu, recipes and food costs, operations and critical thinking skills.

Culinary teams are required to develop a unique menu for a three-course meal, complete with recipes and food costs, and prepare that meal in 60 minutes using two butane burners—with no electricity or running water. They are evaluated on their menu, degree of difficulty, food safety and sanitation, knife skills, cooking procedures, food costing, teamwork, taste and presentation of their meal.

The 2018 Texas ProStart Invitational is supported by TRAEF partners - Texas Beef Council (Exclusive), Ecolab (Diamond), Ben E. Keith (Platinum), Auto-Chlor (Gold), BJ’s Restaurants, Coca-Cola, Texas Mutual, United Healthcare, Les Dames d’Escoffier (Silver), El Centro College and BMI (Bronze).

For more information, or to learn about volunteer opportunities, visit here. 


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