Two Florida High School Teams to Compete for Top Honors at National Culinary & Restaurant Business Competition in Washington, D.C.

 ~Students to contend for almost $200,000 in scholarships at the National ProStart Invitational~

TALLAHASSEE – Following their recent first-place finishes at the statewide Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation (FRLAEF) and ProStart Culinary Competition Event, two Florida high school teams will compete this weekend at the premier national high school culinary arts and restaurant management competition in Washington, D.C.

From May 6-8 at the National ProStart Invitational at the Washington Hilton, the competitors will join over 80 teams from across the country to vie for top high school culinary and restaurant management honors, as well as almost $200,000 in scholarships to support their future aspirations in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

This year’s Florida Culinary Team competitors are from Strawberry Crest High School in Dover and include students Madison Jones, Abigail Hemphill, Eryhka Allbritton, Jenna Mayo, and Julian Alvarado. Their instructor is Paul Bonanno. Representing Florida for the Management Team are students from Hialeah High School, including Maylet Perez, Kiana Yee, Jaden Sandoval, and Vanessa Martinez, along with instructor Kathy Gonzalez.

The three-day event will feature an opening ceremony, two days of powerful culinary and restaurant management competition, and an awards dinner. The top five teams from the culinary and management competitions will earn coveted scholarships to continue their restaurant or foodservice education.

“On behalf of FRLA and Florida’s entire hospitality industry, we are incredibly proud of these two outstanding teams from Strawberry Crest High School and Hialeah High School for their achievements and well-deserved recognition,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “With more than 30,000 students enrolled, Florida’s ProStart program is the largest in the nation. These skilled students are a testament to the fact that Florida has the best of the best when it comes to our ProStart students who show such incredible promise for a future in the hospitality industry. We will be cheering them on as they compete in this week’s national competition and know they will represent us well!”

“I am excited to see the country’s top ProStart students once again bring their talent and skills to the National ProStart Invitational in 2022. Their passion and commitment will be on full display in our nation’s capital as they vie for top honors and scholarship funds to support their career goals,” said Rob Gifford, President of the NRAEF. “These students are truly the culinary and restaurant management talent of the future, and I can’t wait to see all that they achieve in May and beyond.”

A program of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), ProStart® is a two-year technical education program found at more than 1,750 high schools and career and technical educational centers nationwide, teaching culinary techniques and restaurant management skills that build a lifetime foundation and support future careers in the restaurant industry. With 145,000 students enrolled across all all states, the District of Columbia and Guam, the program teaches students through a combination of classroom and industry instruction.


Additional Event/Program Background

In addition to a weekend of intense contests among the nation’s top culinary students, NPSI will also announce the 2022 recipients of the ProStart Educator of Excellence Awards (EEA), which recognize exceptional ProStart educators in their classrooms. Sponsored by the Golden Corral Corporation, this year’s EEA winners will be announced, along with three honorees in the categories of Classroom Expertise, Best Practice and Knowledge Sharing, and Industry Connections. Each category winner will receive $3,500 for their achievement. The NRAEF will also reveal the recipient of the James H. Maynard Teacher of the Year Award, recognizing one EEA winner for their tireless dedication to providing remarkable experiences to their ProStart students. This annual honoree receives a gift of $10,000.

NPSI kicks off on Friday, May 6, with an opening ceremony at the Washington Hilton, followed by an exclusive performance of “GRACE” at historic Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. Two days of intense culinary and management competitions begin Saturday, May 7, and continue through Sunday, May 8. The weekend’s festivities will conclude with an awards dinner on the evening of May 8, where the top five teams in the country in both the culinary and restaurant management competitions will be announced and nearly $200,000 of scholarship funds will be awarded. NPSI is made possible by many generous sponsors, including The Coca-Cola Company, Ecolab, Nestlé Professional and Golden Corral.

Click here to learn more about the 2022 National ProStart Invitational.




About ProStart®

ProStart®, a nationwide, two-year high school career and technical education program uniting the classroom and restaurant industry, reaches nearly 145,000 students in more than 1,750 high schools throughout all states, the District of Columbia and Guam. ProStart gives students a platform to discover and develop new interests and talents, while teaching employability skills like teamwork, professional behavior, time management and communication.


About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and Florida ProStart

The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Founded in 1946 as the Florida Restaurant Association, FRLA merged with the Florida Hotel and Motel Association in 2006. FRLA’s more than 10,000 members include independent hoteliers and restaurateurs, household name franchises, theme parks and suppliers. The association’s mission is to protect, educate and promote Florida’s $111.7 billion hospitality industry which represents 1.6 million employees. Dedicated to safeguarding the needs of its membership, FRLA provides legislative advocacy to ensure the voices of its members are heard and their interests are protected. The association offers regulatory compliance and food safety training through SafeStaff® and FRLA’s subsidiary, RCS Training. The FRLA Educational Foundation provides industry-developed, career-building high school programs throughout the state.


About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF)

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce. NRAEF programs include: ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; Restaurant Ready – partnering with community based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities; Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers; Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees; and The Restaurant & Hospitality Leadership Center (RHLC) – accredited apprenticeship programs designed to build the careers of service professionals. For more information on the NRAEF, visit