ProStart Professional Development

Registration extended (credit card payments only)!

Hone your culinary and restaurant management instruction skills for the ProStart classroom

ProStart Professional Development (ProStart PD) launched in 2023 as a revamp to our previous Summer Institutes curriculum. A professional development model that is specific to the ProStart curriculum and its classroom implementation, ProStart PD’s goal is to equip educators with tools to enhance the experience of their students, encouraging them to pursue restaurant and hospitality careers.

Thanks to the 150 educators who joined us for ProStart PD’s inaugural session in 2023 and provided valuable feedback, we’re returning in 2024 with an experience that better reflects the needs of educators. Join us in 2024 to find:

  • An expanded program covering Sunday-Friday, with room for up to 200 educators
  • Full-day lab experiences
  • A greater focus on aligning the training to the circumstances and experience of ProStart educators
  • An updated exam
Registration remains open for credit card payments, only.

Please note that previous plans to expand ProStart PD content/learning tracks are paused until 2025 while we focus on developing a core learning experience that best meets the needs of ProStart educators.

Course Details

2024 Dates

July 7 – 12, 2024

The Roosevelt New Orleans
130 Roosevelt Way
New Orleans, LA 70112

Offsite Labs:
New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI)
725 Howard Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130

PLEASE NOTE: Registrations received after June 14th may not receive chef coats, onsite. However, items will be shipped to you afterwards.

General Program Schedule

All times shown are Central Time (CT).

Sunday, July 7

  • 12:00pm – 7:00pm Registration
  • 5:00pm – 7:00pm Opening Reception

Monday, July 8

ProStart Processes & Resources and School System Administration

  • 8:00am – 5:00pm Breakout Sessions:
    • Foundations of Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts
    • Curriculum Updates and Resources
    • ProStart Processes & Resources
    • Program Administration
    • Classroom Administration
    • Lab Administration

Tuesday, July 9

Back of the House and Culinary Exploration

  • 7:00am – 5:00pm Full Day Lab at NOCHI (Group 1)
  • 8:00am – 5:00pm Breakout Sessions (Group 2):
    • Kitchen Basics
    • Safe Operations
    • Culinary Exploration 1, 2,3, and 4 includes but not limited to: Eggs & dairy, fruits & vegetables, stocks, sauces & soups, make it quick options, baking & desserts, meats, poultry & seafood

Wednesday, July 10

Back of the House and Culinary Exploration

  • 7:00am – 5:00 pm – Full Day Lab at NOCHI (Group 2)
  • 8:00am – 5:00pm – Breakout Sessions (Group 1):
    • Kitchen Basics
    • Safe Operations
    • Culinary Exploration 1, 2,3, and 4 includes but not limited to: Eggs & dairy, fruits & vegetables, stocks, sauces & soups, make it quick options, baking & desserts, meats, poultry & seafood

Thursday, July 11

Welcome to the Industry and Food Service Operations

  • 8:00am – 1:00pm – Breakout Sessions:
    • Overview of the Restaurant Industry
    • Today’s Operational Concerns
    • Managing Costs
    • Service and Management
    • Reaching your Customers
  • 1:00pm – 4:30pm – Wrap up your week by participating in our mock Management Competition. Tap into the student experience as you prepare and present your team’s unique restaurant concept just as they do at the National ProStart Invitational (NPSI).

Friday, July 12

(Breakfast provided)

  • 8:00am – 10:00am Exam Day

Schedule and locations are subject to change.

ProStart Educator Certificate

The ProStart Educator Certificate application is live for all ProStart educators who have completed the ProStart Professional Development program. 2023 participants, there is still time to submit your application to receive the ProStart Educator Certificate. See the Educator Credentials page for details and the link to the application.

ProStart Educator Certificate logo

New for 2024! Are you planning to complete the ProStart Educator Certificate application after the program?  Let us lighten the load by submitting it on your behalf.  No need to follow up after the event.  We will collect your materials onsite and automatically issue your certificate when your exam is processed. 

What do you need to do in advance?  

  • Download and fill out the application which can be found HERE. 
  • Attach copies of the required supplemental materials
    • Unofficial transcript, degree, or teacher certification
    • Documented 100 hours of industry experience (see application for details) 

When you arrive in NOLA for this year’s event, you may submit the materials listed above and we’ll take care of the rest. When your exam is scored and we confirm you passed, we will attach your exam certificate and submit your complete ProStart Educator Certificate application to be processed.

Please allow four to six weeks post-event for the overall process.  ProStart Educator Certificates will be distributed electronically. 

Meet The Instructors

Sara Johannes

Sara Johannes

Culinary Arts Instructor & Department Chair, Saint Paul College

Falling in love with food at a young age, Chef Sara Johannes could always be found diligently listening to the cooking shows on PBS on Saturday mornings and was inspired by her Italian Grandmother’s cooking, who always let the season, mood, and occasion dictate her menu. This love led her to culinary school, and she has enjoyed every minute since. 

Chef Johannes served as the opening executive chef of Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty restaurant in Dallas and WP24 in Los Angeles at the Ritz Carlton before heading back to Minneapolis. Upon arriving back in Minneapolis, she took on seven concepts at MSP Airport for the award-winning OTG Management. Concepts were diverse, ranging from a French Bistro with a Raw Bar, an Asian Fusion restaurant featuring fresh sushi, handmade noodles, and dim sum, to gourmet sandwiches at Andrew Zimmern’s airport outpost of Minibar. OTG afforded her the opportunity to represent them on Bravo’s TV’s Top Chef, New Orleans, Season 11.  

Chef Johannes is thrilled to be teaching at her alma mater Saint Paul College, teaching the profession she loves to future culinary professionals. After 25+ years in restaurants, Johannes is honored to be in the kitchen every day, working with passionate students looking to start their careers.  

Chef Johannes holds a diploma in Culinary Arts.  

Samantha Jones

Samantha Jones

Education Consultant & Entrepreneur - Into the Kitchen

Over the last 15 years, Samantha Jones has worked in a variety of positions within the culinary and hospitality industry. Sam eventually found her love for teaching in 2014 and joined the Chicago Public Schools as a ProStart educator in 2016. Believing that learning is a constant, she continuously built on her curriculum and community connections to increase her students’ opportunities. During her time there, ProStart supported multiple aspects of her program from providing student job shadows and work experience, to scholarship support and certifications. In 2018, she was named as an Educator of Excellence and as the IL ProStart Teacher of the Year, and in 2023, was granted the IL Meritorious Teacher of the Year award. After years of teaching, she decided it was time again to grow and started her own business. Given her connection with her fellow educators and her understanding of the opportunities the program provides, she was asked to continue to support ProStart both at the state and national levels. Sam now works as an education consultant and partners with multiple state and national workforce programs which focus on culinary education, teacher training, career skill building, and course development. 

Mark Molinaro

Mark Molinaro

Associate Executive Director & Associate Teaching Professor, Northern Arizona University - School of Hotel and Restaurant Management

Mark Molinaro has enjoyed growing with ProStart for over 15 years. He enjoys working with the people who make this program continuously improve in supporting and equipping emerging hospitality professionals. Having worked as a chef with Omni, Four Seasons, and Ritz-Carlton hotels, Mark transitioned to education where he served as Executive Chef for the New England Culinary Institute. He is currently the Executive Director and Professor at Northern Arizona University’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management where he gets to serve over 400 students and a robust hospitality community. He recently obtained his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership with research focused on improving ethics education in hospitality programs.  

Michael Santos

Michael Santos

CEO, Tailored Food & Beverage

Michael Santos is the Chief Executive Officer for Tailored Food & Beverage. After launching a successful restaurant franchise group in Las Vegas; Santos set out to help other restaurant groups sharpen their operations. Tailored Food & Beverage works with restaurant organizations who are looking to expand their organizational structure and market presence all while enhancing their operations. Santos works with each department and the restaurant operators to build the sole focus of serving the guests in all they do every day. From supply chain analysis to guest service training, Santos is operationally focused and guest minded.

Prior to Tailored Food & Beverage Santos was the Chief Operating Officer for MRG a Raising Canes franchisee; overseeing Operations, HR, IT, Supply Chain and Training. Immediately prior to this position, Santos served as the VP of Operations and Human Resources. Under Santos’s leadership, Raising Canes grew to 15 restaurants in three markets in 9 years. With a passion for education almost as great as for the restaurant industry, Santos attended California State University, Long Beach and graduated in December of 2004 with Bachelors of Science Degrees in Finance and in Human Resources Management. Today, Santos supports Prostart – a program developed by the National Restaurant Association’s Education Foundation. Santos works as a Partner in Refined Restaurant Group overseeing Finance and Human Resources for the company.  Michael in his free time enjoys traveling and spending time with his wife Alexandra and their two daughters: Sophie and Mila.

Learn more about our hands-on lab instructors from the New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI).

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was there a change from Summer Institutes to ProStart Professional Development?
In response to feedback from the ProStart community, there was an overwhelming desire for a ProStart specific training to support the specific needs of the curriculum, classroom, and lab experience associated with ProStart.

Previously, we provided educator professional development that was available to any secondary food-service educator. While the content was largely based on the Foundations of Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts curriculum, it was not focused on the specific needs of educators in the ProStart classroom.

Summer Institutes, the previous iteration of educator training, had been in practice for more than a decade and was due for an update. It was an ideal opportunity to update the content to the new ProStart specific training model.

The new model provides a foundational standard of training with new avenues of learning for new and experienced educators to enhance their skills, gain credibility, and support the continued growth and recognition of the ProStart program.

The first iteration of ProStart Professional Development provided three (3) days of core content and an exam.  For 2024, an updated core program will be delivered over four (4) days with an exam on day five (5).  The new model has been elevated from the inaugural program in 2023 to include full day labs, more resources, and an additional day to get the most out of the experience.

Will additional courses be available for those who completed 2023 ProStart PD?
We anticipated valuable feedback from the 2023 ProStart PD session, and we’re taking the time to build on the ProStart PD foundational model in 2024 by incorporating the valuable feedback of our 2023 participants.

Educators are the backbone of the ProStart classroom experience. We’re dedicated to creating a core set of content that will equip everyone – no matter their years in the classroom – with tools and resources that cover a variety of program models, circumstances, and resources.

If you joined us in 2023, the program has been updated and we hope you’ll take the time to return in 2024, where you’ll benefit from a revised and improved experience to deepen your engagement with the ProStart program.

We intend to introduce additional electives and tracks for ProStart PD completers starting in 2025. In the meantime, we’re dedicated to creating a solid, well-rounded core ProStart PD experience for all educators.

Who can attend?
ProStart educators who are employed at a confirmed ProStart program school may register. Programs must complete annual data collection each year to be a confirmed ProStart program.
What is the cost to attend?

The cost for ProStart Professional Development registration is $800.

Is there funding to support educators interested in attending?
Yes. Professional Development Grants are available in the amount of $2,000 ($800 to cover the cost of registration and $1,200 to assist with travel and expenses). These grants may ONLY be used for ProStart Professional Development courses. Educators who attended the 2023 ProStart PD program are ineligible to apply for a grant this year. Please check back in 2025 for additional opportunities to apply when additional courses are available.

The application will be open from Thursday, February 1 through Tuesday, March 5, 2024.

All educators interested in Professional Development Grants must apply via the application. Due to the nature of funding and financial restrictions, grant awards are only given out on a one-year basis and will not roll over into subsequent years.

Will there be levels and a spotlight series?
The spotlight series that was previously offered as a part of Summer Institutes will transition to spotlight course offerings for educators who have already achieved the ProStart Educator Certificate and will be included as a part of the new program beginning in 2025.

The spotlights will be provided as a 1-2 day course offering in addition to the core content each year thereafter.

Can experienced ProStart educators waive out of the core content to earn the ProStart Educator Certificate?
While we understand there are educators with years of experience with the program, all interested educators must complete the core content to receive the ProStart Educator Certificate.

Professional development is an ongoing experience and there is always something new to support the improvement of the ProStart experience. The program has been redesigned to adapt the curriculum to accommodate all levels of experience and provide opportunities for experienced educators to network, and encourage and support new educators as well.

How do I apply for the new ProStart Educator Certificate?
The ProStart Educator Certificate is available to educators who successfully completed to the ProStart Professional Development core program (2023 and 2024). See the Credentials for more information and to download the application.
What if I already have my CSFE? Do I need to do this training?
Yes, you must complete the core content component of ProStart PD to be eligible for the new ProStart Educator Certificate. The core content will include new and interactive opportunities to engage and enhance the ProStart experience for educators and students and will be a great benefit during training and beyond.

New and renewal applications for the CSFE are no longer being accepted. Current CSFE certificates are valid through their expiration date or when the program sunsets in 2028, whichever is sooner.

What is provided by NRAEF?
The NRAEF will provide educational and training materials, schedules, exams, and important information to educators prior to the course, via email. It is crucial that you register with an active email address so that we may reach out. If you do not have access to your school district email account during the summer months, please register using a personal email address to ensure you receive critical information and updates.
When does registration open for the 2024 course?

Registration for 2024 ProStart Professional Development is open through June 7, 2024.

Space is limited so register asap. Seats are confirmed on a first come, first-served basis.

What are the key dates for the 2024 course?
Educator Grant Applications Open – February 1, 2024

Educator Grant Application Close – March 5, 2024

Grant Application Award Notifications and Claiming – March 22, 2024

Registration Open – April 1, 2024

Registration Close – May 31, 2024

Cancellation Deadline – June 14, 2024

Full refund minus $25 admin fee – June 14, 2024

After June 14, substitutions only; no refunds

Who should I contact with questions?
Please first reach out with any questions to ProStart@nraef.org

2023 ProStart Professional Development – A Look Back

ProStart PD Fairmont Hotel
ProStart PD Dallas College

Educator Feedback

Instructors and organizers were funny, helpful and kind. It was great also to meet and collaborate with other teachers around the country. All of the comments and personal experiences from other teachers is helpful and thanks to the instructors for allowing those conversations to happen. Thank you for all of the work you’re doing!

Thank you! For a first-time, revamped program it went great and was well worth attending.

I love the hands on learning and the quality of the instructors – please keep this standard.

Thank you for this outstanding professional development and for the countless hours of prep you put into it.

Contact Us

Have questions about ProStart and our Educator resources? Please use the form below and we’ll connect with you, quickly!