National ProStart Invitational

The National ProStart Invitational® is a national secondary school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts. Annually, 350 student competitors put their skills to the test in front of industry leaders, NRAEF Trustees, state restaurant associations, and family and friends - all with hopes of earning a coveted scholarship from one of the nation’s largest culinary and restaurant management programs.

How the Competition Works

The National ProStart Invitational is the finale of a expansive series of state and DoDEA region competitions hosted by partner state restaurant associations. For each respective competition – culinary or management – students must impress judges from leading industry corporations, colleges, and universities with skills they’ve developed through ProStart.

Competition Scholarships

The top five teams from the culinary and management competitions are awarded generous educational scholarships to help further their careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry. This year, more than $1 million in scholarships was awarded to students by the NRAEF and leading academic institutions.

In addition, all competitors are encouraged to take full advantage of competing at the National ProStart Invitational by networking with other students and industry professionals in attendance.

Two Challenging Competitions

The National ProStart Invitational is composed of two distinct competitions – management and culinary – that showcase the most important skills needed on either side of the restaurant and foodservice industry.


Management teams develop a proposal for the next promising restaurant concept and present it to a panel of industry judges. Next, their problem solving skills are tested as they quickly solve challenges faced by managers daily.


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. Students are evaluated on taste, skill, teamwork, safety and sanitation.

NPSI 2017 Templates

2016 National ProStart Invitational Winners

First place

Culinary: Polaris Career Center; Middleburg Heights, Ohio

Management: New Caney High School; New Caney, Texas

Second place

Culinary: Plymouth Canton Educational Park; Canton, Michigan

Management: Eastside High School; Gainesville, Florida

Third place

Culinary: Academy of Culinary Arts at Byron Nelson; Trophy Club, Texas

Management: Grandview High School; Aurora, Colorado

Fourth place

Culinary: Olathe Public Schools; Olathe, Kansas

Management: Saginaw Career Complex; Saginaw, Michigan

Fifth place

Culinary: South Salem High School; Salem, Oregon

Management: Sauk Rapids-Rice High School; Sauk Rapids, Minnesota