The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA), the voice of North Carolina’s $23 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry, today announced that Henderson County Career Academy and North Buncombe High School secured first place finishes in the 2018 North Carolina ProStart Invitational (NCPI) presented by Golden Corral. NCPI is a high-stakes culinary arts and restaurant management competition organized by the association’s philanthropic arm, the North Carolina Hospitality Education Foundation.
The 2018 NCPI took place Feb. 26-27, at Johnson & Wales University – Charlotte. 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 more than $1 million in scholarships—awarded to first, second and third place teams—to top culinary schools across the country. More than 100 ProStart students, made up of 18 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:
2018 NCPI Culinary Winners
First place: Henderson County Career Academy, Flat Rock, NC
Second place: Smithfield Selma High School, Smithfield, NC
Third place: Cary High School, Cary, NC
Fourth place: Southwestern Randolph High School, Asheboro, NC
Fifth place: Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School, Raleigh, NC
2018 NCPI Management Winners
First place: North Buncombe High School, Weaverville, NC
Second place: Sanderson High School, Raleigh, NC
Third place: West Rowan High School, Mount Ulla, NC
Fourth place: Western Harnett High School, Lillington, NC
Fifth place: Davie High School, Mocksville, NC
Both Henderson County Career Academy and North Buncombe High advance to the prestigious National ProStart Invitational in Providence, Rhode Island, April 27-29. The two teams will attend a preparation boot camp March 14, at Henderson County Career Academy in Flat Rock.
“North Carolina’s hospitality industry is thriving, and demand for talent to meet job growth is at an all-time high. We are proud to be a part of a program that continues to prepare the industry’s future leaders for a fulfilling career in the restaurant and hospitality industry,” said Lynn Minges, president and CEO of NCRLA and NC HEF. “These students have demonstrated amazing competencies during the annual North Carolina ProStart competition. There is no doubt that they will make us proud as they advance to the National ProStart Invitational in Providence, Rhode Island, this April.”
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 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 ProStart program is utilized in more than 1,700 high schools in 50 states, Guam and on U.S. military bases and reaches nearly 120,000 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 scholarships and credits.
To learn more about the North Carolina ProStart program, click here.