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NC ProStart Invitational
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NCPI Winners

Cary High School and South Caldwell High School advance to 2017 National ProStart Invitational


Winners in culinary and management divisions win nearly $1 million in scholarships in annual competition

Raleigh, N.C. (March 28, 2017) – The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA), the voice of North Carolina’s $22 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry, today announced that South Caldwell High School (above, right) and Cary High School (above, left) secured first place finishes in the 2017 North Carolina ProStart Invitational (NCPI) Presented by Golden Corral, a high-stakes culinary arts and restaurant management competition. Each team now advances to the prestigious National ProStart Invitational in Charleston, South Carolina, April 28-30.

The 2017 NCPI took place March 17 at The Chef’s Academy in Morrisville. High school students from across North Carolina put their skills to the test in front of industry leaders, family and friends with the hopes to earn nearly $1 million in scholarships to top culinary schools across the country. Eighty top culinary ProStart students, made up of 22 teams from across the state, demonstrated their mastery of skills in the fast-paced, high level competition. The following teams placed in the top five for the management and culinary divisions of the competition:

2017 NCPI Culinary Winners
First place: South Caldwell High School (Hudson)
Second place: Southwestern Randolph High School (Asheboro)
Third place: Cary High School (Cary)
Fourth place: Iredell-Statesville CATS (Troutman)
Fifth place: Smithfield Selma Senior High School (Smithfield)

2017 NCPI Management Winners
First place: Cary High School (Cary)
Second place: Cleveland High School (Clayton)
Third place: West Rowan High School (Mt. Ulla)
Fourth place: Robert L. Patton High School (Morganton)
Fifth place: Southwestern Randolph High School (Asheboro)

“North Carolina relies on fresh talent to meet the demands of our thriving hospitality industry,” said Lynn Minges, president and CEO, NCRLA. “The students participating in the ProStart Invitational have the opportunity to showcase all that they’ve learned in the classroom, and it is a foreshadowing of the bright future of North Carolina’s restaurant and foodservice industry. The teams at South Caldwell High School and Cary High School represent the very best students in the ProStart program. We wish them the best of luck in the National ProStart Invitational next month.”

The culinary competition highlights each team’s creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes, using only two butane burners, and without access to running water or electricity. The culinary teams are evaluated on taste, skill, teamwork, safety and sanitation. The management competition requires management teams to develop a proposal for the next promising restaurant concept and present it to the panel of industry judges. Students must communicate their entrepreneurial ideas clearly and use their problem-solving skills to solve challenges faced by managers daily.

The program is utilized in more than 1,700 high schools in 50 states, Guam and on U.S. military bases and reaches nearly 100,000 secondary students annually. Many post-secondary schools in the nation recognize ProStart’s Certificate of Achievement, which is awarded to students who complete both levels of the program and at least 400 hours of work experience, and reward them with scholarship and credits. The state competition continues to expand, with a 40 percent increase in schools participating than last year.


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