The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA), the voice of North Carolina’s $23 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry, today announced that Smithfield-Selma High School and West Rowan High School secured first place finishes in the 2020 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 (NCHEF).
The 2020 NCPI took place Feb. 21, 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 $730,000 in scholarships — awarded to first, second and third place teams — to top culinary schools across the country. More than 80 ProStart students, made up of 14 teams from across the state, demonstrated their mastery of skills in the fast-paced, high level competition.
The following teams placed in the top three for the management and culinary divisions of the competition:
2020 NCPI Culinary Winners
First place: Smithfield-Selma High School, Smithfield, NC
Second place: Cary High School, Cary, NC
Third place: Asheville High School, Asheville, NC
2020 NCPI Management Winners
First place: West Rowan High School, Mount Ulla, NC
Second place: Smithfield-Selma High School, Smithfield, NC
Third place: Lejeune High School, Camp Lejeune, NC
In addition to the student awards given at the annual competition, one teacher is also recognized. The 2020 NC ProStart Educator of Excellence was awarded to Ashley Whitesides of Cary High School.
Smithfield-Selma High School and West Rowan High School advance to the prestigious National ProStart Invitational in Washington, D.C. May 8 – 10, 2020.
“The hospitality industry is thriving in North Carolina, and the demand for talent has never been greater. We are proud to be a part of the ProStart program that successfully prepares future leaders for fulfilling careers in the hospitality industry,” said Lynn Minges, president and CEO of NCRLA and NCHEF. “These students have demonstrated great skill and poise during the competition. There is no doubt that they will make us proud as they advance to the National ProStart Invitational this May.”
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 a 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 often faced by restaurant managers.
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.
Established in 1947, the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA) works to advance and protect North Carolina’s $23 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry. The association provides access to the resources and support restaurant and lodging professionals need to lead thriving businesses, while serving as conscientious, contributing members of an unparalleled industry. To learn more information about NCRLA or its membership opportunities and cost-saving benefits, please visit www.ncrla.org.
The North Carolina Hospitality Education Foundation (NC HEF) is the philanthropic foundation of the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association, helping to enhance the hospitality industry’s service to the public through education, community engagement and promotion of career opportunities. NC HEF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the hospitality industry. For more information, please visit www.ncrla.org/foundation.