Raleigh, N.C. (March 15, 2016) – The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA), the voice of North Carolina’s $20.2 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry, today announced that Cary High School and Davie High School have won the 2016 North Carolina ProStart Invitational Presented by Golden Corral (NCPI), a high-stakes culinary arts and restaurant management competition.
The 2016 NCPI took place March 14-15 at the Durham Convention Center. High school students from across North Carolina competed for more than $1 million in scholarship prizes to top culinary schools across the country. The following teams placed in the top five for the management and culinary divisions of the competition.
2016 Management Winners
First Place: Davie High School, Mocksville
Second Place: Robert L. Patton High School, Morganton
Third Place: Cary High School, Cary
Fourth Place: Southwestern Randolph High School, Asheboro
Fifth Place: Lejeune High School, Jacksonville
2016 Culinary Winners
First Place: Cary High School, Cary
Second Place: Southwestern Randolph High School, Asheboro
Third Place: Olympic High School, Charlotte
Fourth Place: South Caldwell High School, Hudson
Fifth Place: Robert L. Patton High School, Morganton
Fifty top culinary ProStart students made up 14 teams from across the state, demonstrated their mastery of skills in the fast-paced, high level competition. The teams were aiming for scholarships from culinary schools and the opportunity to compete against 43 other states in the National ProStart Invitational hosted in Dallas, Texas from April 29 – May 1, 2016.
“ProStart truly brings the industry to the classroom, and the classroom to the industry,” said Lance Trenary, President and CEO, Golden Corral and Chair of the NCRLA Board of Directors. “We’re pleased to help support this program and its continued efforts to prepare our nation’s future leaders for fulfilling and worthwhile careers in the restaurant and hospitality industry.”
This year, Cary High School of Cary won the culinary competition and Davie High School of Mocksville won the management competition. The teams were awarded more than $1.1 million in scholarships to The Art Institute of Charlotte or Raleigh, New England Culinary Institute, International Culinary School at The Arts Institutes, The Chef’s Academy, The Culinary Institute of America, Johnson and Wales University, Louisiana Culinary Institute, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
The culinary competition highlights the creative abilities of each team as they prepare a three-course meal in sixty minutes, without access to running water, electricity and only two butane burners. Management teams developed a business proposal for an original restaurant concept and presented it to a panel of industry judges, who then challenged them to address the issues restaurant managers face on a daily basis. Judges evaluated the teams on knife skills, safety and sanitation, team skills, taste and presentation, and others. The North Carolina ProStart Invitational is an outstanding illustration of the great opportunity and success the restaurant industry provides.
“North Carolina’s hospitality industry is thriving and demand for talent to meet job growth is one of the greatest challenges we face,” said Lynn Minges, President and CEO of the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association. “These students are the future of North Carolina’s restaurant and foodservice industry and they have demonstrated amazing competencies during the annual N.C. ProStart competition. No doubt, they will make us proud as they advance to the National ProStart Invitational in Grapevine, Texas on April 29.”
Hospitality industry leaders from across the state served as judges, including Certified Executive Chef, Eddie Wilson, from NC State University Dining, and Manny Gomez, Senior Operational Trainer from Golden Corral. The competition was sponsored by Golden Corral, Butterball, Ecolab, US Foods, , Johnson & Wales University, Longhorn Steakhouse, Pinehurst Resort, Sysco, 4nd St. Oyster Bar, Harper’s Restaurant Group, Tri-Arc Bojangles, The Umstead Hotel and Spa, The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham, The Chef’s Academy, NEWCHEF Fashion Inc. and North Carolina Central University.
ProStart is the nation’s premier culinary arts and restaurant management program, utilized in more than 1,700 high schools in 48 states, Guam and on U.S. military bases. The program reaches nearly 100,000 secondary students annually. Administered by the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation, ProStart prepares young people to pursue additional studies or enter a rewarding career in the foodservice sector. 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.