100+ Florida ProStart Students Team Up with Famous Chefs, NFL Legends at Taste of the NFL

Students partnered with famous chefs to help prepare top-tier culinary dishes during star-studded fundraiser to fight hunger relief

[Hollywood, Fla] Over 100 Florida ProStart students and their teachers had the opportunity to volunteer and support Saturday night’s Taste of the NFL, a star-studded fundraiser to fight hunger relief the night before the Super Bowl.

Students got their own real-world taste of working a high-profile event, held at the Diplomat Beach Resort in South Florida, where they were assigned to renowned chefs to set up and prepare food, serve tasting plates and assist in cleanup. Over 30 food stations were hosted by each NFL team and featured a current NFL Player, Hall of Famer or Legend.

The students are enrolled in ProStart®, a high school career and technical education program created by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) focused on culinary arts and restaurant management. The program is run at the state level by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA).

“This has been one of the best experiences of my life,” said Jordyn Wilson, ProStart student from Marathon High School located in the Florida Keys. Wilson worked at the Oakland Raiders table with Chef Tonya Holland, cookbook author and owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, CA, which earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand. Holland has also appeared on Top Chef.

“The Taste of the NFL provided Florida’s ProStart students with an amazing opportunity to participate in an amazing event for a wonderful cause, which deepened their appreciation and excitement for the industry,” said Laura Rumer, Director of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Foundation. “By the time the night was over, several students received job offers so they can continue their careers. We appreciate the opportunity to be involved and look forward to working with the Taste of the NFL on the 2021 event.” 

Participating high schools included:

  1. Hialeah Gardens High School
  2. John A. Ferguson Senior High School
  3. Miami Sunset Senior High School
  4. Nova High School
  5. Coral Springs High School
  6. Atlantic Technical High School
  7. Martin County High School
  8. Melbourne High School
  9. Winter Springs High School
  10. Marathon High School

 “This will be a night that I will never forget,” said Aiden Della Costa, ProStart student from Melbourne High School who worked at the New York Giants table with Chef Brenton Lee, executive chef at Tribeca Grill in New York City.

ProStart serves nearly 150,000 students across the country, and the state of Florida alone accounts for over 20 percent of those students. ProStart offers students a platform to discover new interests and talents through a curriculum that includes all facets of culinary arts and restaurant management, and sets a high standard of excellence for the industry’s next generation of leaders.

A key component of the program includes employment opportunities for students while enrolled and/or once they graduate, especially in Florida, where tourism is one of the state’s top economic drivers. Last year, restaurant and foodservice jobs accounted for 12 percent of employment across the state.

Taste of the NFL started in the Twin Cities in 1992 when Minneapolis hosted the Super Bowl for the first time. Each year, the event coincides with the big game in the hosting city. Since its inception, Taste of the NFL has donated $25 million to food banks and nonprofit organizations in the 32 NFL cities.

Learn more about ProStart in Florida and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association here.
Learn more about the Taste of the NFL and the Kick Hunger Challenge here.