ProStart February NewsBites 2016

16th Annual ProStart Competition Resultseastside with trophy

(Orlando, Fla.) The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation (FRLAEF) announced the winners of the 16th Annual ProStart Culinary Team Competition which was held Friday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6, 2016 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando.

A total of 49 schools participated in the competition with 13 schools winning top awards throughout the day’s events. More than $1.4 million in scholarships was distributed to the winning schools. All winners and participants are a part of Florida’s ProStart program which is a career technical education program where high school students learn from an industry-derived curriculum that teaches culinary techniques and restaurant management skills. More than 20,000 students from across the state are enrolled in the program. The four main event competitions included: the Cracker Barrel Management Competition, the Johnson & Wales University Culinary Competition, the Keiser University Edible Centerpiece Competition, and the Coca-Cola Companyleto Waiters Relay Competition.

Gainesville’s Eastside High School won first place in the overall competition. East Ridge High School in Clermont took home second place in the overall competition, with J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs placing third.



Overall Competition Winners
First Place Eastside High School Instructors: Billie DeNunzio
Second Place East Ridge High School Instructors: Lucressie McGriff and Ken Pitts
Third Place J.P. Taravella High School Instructor: Scott Goodman
Fourth Place Leto High School Instructor: Debra Hladky
Fifth Place Seabreeze High School Instructor: Samantha Crouch

Johnson & Wales University Culinary Competition Winnersmc pic
Participating teams demonstrated their creative abilities during the competition through the preparation of a meal consisting of: starter (such as soup, salad or appetizer), protein (such as meat, fish or fowl), starch, vegetable, and dessert.
First Place – Leto High School Instructor: Debra Hladky
Second Place  – Eastside High School Instructors: Billie DeNunzio and Pamela Bedford
Third Place – East Ridge High School Instructors: Lucressie McGriff and Ken Pitts
Fourth Place – J.P. Taravella High School Instructor: Scott Goodman
Fifth Place – Steinbrenner High School Instructors: Philip Meola and David Walesheck

Cracker Barrel Management Competition Winners
Participating teams demonstrated their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by developing a business proposal for a new restaurant concept. The business proposal consisted of a defined restaurant concept, supporting menu, and supporting marketing plan. Teams prepared a comprehensive written proposal, verbal presentation and visual di?splay.
First Place – Eastside High School Instructors: Billie DeNunzio and Pamela Bedford
Second Place – Deland High School Instructor: Renee Scarborough
Third Place – East Ridge High School Instructors: Lucressie McGriff and Ken Pitts
Fourth Place – Mainland High School Instructors: Jason Kester and Troy Logan

Fifth Place – Northeast High School Instructors: John Beck and Curtis Serata

Keiser University Edible Centerpiece Competition Winners

Participating teams demonstrated their creative ability during the competition through the preparation of an edible centerpiece consisting of fruits and vegetables. Contestants explained nutritional information, product availability, and preparation techniques.
First Place – Tarpon Springs High School Instructors: Cathleen Ryan, Vincenzo Pesce, Tony DeVincenzo
Second Place – Eastside High School Instructors: Billie DeNunzio and Pamela Bedford
Third Place – Mainland High School Instructors: Jason Kester and Troy Logan
Fourth Place – Seabreeze High School Instructor: Samantha Crouch
Fifth Place – Northeast High School Instructor: John Beck and Curtis Serata

Coca-Cola Company Waiters Relay Competition Winnerswr pic
Participating teams demonstrated their ability to duplicate a table setting while racing against the clock.
First Place – J.P. Taravella High School Instructor: Scott Goodman
Second Place – Seabreeze High School Instructor: Samantha Crouch
Third Place – East Ridge High School Instructors: Lucressie McGriff and Ken Pitts
Fourth Place – Bartow High School Instructor: Rosalind Chan
Fifth Place – Stoneman Douglas High School Instructor: Ashley Kurth

FRLAEF Scholarship Winners

The FRLAEF awarded $44,000 in scholarships during the Salute to Excellence Awards Saturday, Februscholarship1ary 6, 2016 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando. Scholarship recipients must be pursuing a degree in culinary or hospitality. See the awardees below!  For event photos, go here.

Robert Adams,  Flagler Palm Coast High School
Serena Beze,  Miami Beach Senior High School
Laurie Borden,  Eastside High School
Dakota Brown, Wiregrass Ranch High School
Kaitlyn Clark,  South Lake High School
Jonathan Conrad,  Tarpon Springs High School
Alyssa Dukeshire,  South Tech Academy
Jennifer Flores-logston,  Lakes Wales Senior HighScholarship kid at Salute3
Kayla Forde, Tarpon Springs High School
Giselle Gallardo,  John A. Ferguson Senior High School
Michelle Graham, Lecanto High School
Violeta Guevara, South lake High School
Lillian Hahn, South Tech Academy
Robert Hammock,  Middleburg High School
Taxeira Harrington,  Atlantic Technical High School
Austin Hill,  Wiregrass Ranch High School
Deneisha Johnson,  Bayside High School
Joey Joseph,  Inlet Grove High School
Michelle Lidsky,  Atlantic Technical High School
Pavel Machu,  J. P. Taravella High School
Jay Marshall,  Tarpon Springs High SchoolScholarship kid at Salute2
Michelle Montagna,  Treasure Coast High School
Taylor Moreland,  Forest Hill Community High School
Pierce Morones,  Gulf Coast High School
Idali Rios,  Estero High School
Faith Snow,  Miami Sunset Senior High School
Emily Wallace,  Milton High School
Mariah Wallis,  South Lake High School
Atila Wright-Isguzar, Tarpon Springs High School

ProStart Teacher of the YearSheila head shot

The ProStart Teacher of the Year is Sheila Richards from Bethlehem High School in Holmes County. Ms. Richards graduated from Troy University with a business administration degree. She then received an education degree from NW Florida State University. She worked for 14 years as a benefits manager with Sony Magnetic Products. She then served as Children’s Ministry Director at Carmel Church for 3 years. In 2005 Ms. Richards began teaching at Bethlehem High School. Since she began using the ProStart curriculum in 2009, her students have earned 54 ProStart Certificates of Achievement Bethlehem is also one of only 22 Premier Florida ProStart schools.

For event photos, go here.

Hospitality Excellence Award Recipients

The following students were presented the 2016 FRLAEF Hospitality Excellence Award during the Salute to Excellence Awards dinner on Saturday, February. 6, 2016 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando.

This award gives recognition to the top student in each Florida ProStart high school. ProStart teachers nominated students to receive this prestigious honor.

Armwood High School,  Kevin VanAtta
Bartow High School, Tattoo LockhartHosp Exc kid at Salute
Bayside High School, Dakota Dombkowski
Bethlehem High School, Chloie Loepp
Booker T. Washington Senior High, School Princess Bentley
Bowers/Whitley Career Center, Symeon McLeod-Green
Columbia High School, Jacob Stancil
Coral Springs High School, Sirena Marquez
DeLand High School, Lawton Stacey
Dixie M Hollins High School, Peter Jaroenmit
East Ridge High School, Evan Munar
Eastside High School, Erin Livingston
Estero High School, Bernardo Trujillo
Flagler Palm Coast High School, Kaitlin McBride
Forest Hill High School, Shawntalia Anderson
Fort Pierce Central High School, Erasto QuintanaHosp Exc kid at Salute3
Frank H Peterson Academy of Tech, Brandi Connell
Hialeah High School, Crystal Vazquez
Holmes County High School, Toni Stewart
J.P. Taravella High School, Ashlyn Barth
Jefferson High School, Denver Rhode
John A Ferguson Senior High, Martyn Martin
Keystone Heights High School, Victoria Savoy
Lake Minneola High School, Samantha Shepler
Lake Wales High School, Jennifer Flores
Leto High School, Elissia LaPorte
Mainland High School, Valerie Severino
Marathon High School, Kayla Prince
Melbourne High School, Tessa Mabb
Nassau County Technical Center, Pradit Whitling
Northeast High School, Nathan Lambert
Sebring High School, Cameron Armstead
South Lake High School, Krizabel Pastrana
St. Lucie West Centennial High School, Jordin Simberlund
Steinbrenner High School, Cris DejesusHosp Exc kid at Salute2
Stoneman Douglas High School, Eden Fhima
Strawberry Crest High School, Jewely Odom
Tampa Bay Technical High School, Adarius Doster
Tarpon Springs High School, Atila Wright-Isguzar
Terry Parker High School, Lauren Gallagher
Treasure Coast High School, Samantha Stoltenberg
Winter Haven High School, Calan J Harrison III
Winter Haven High School, Valerie Franco

Salute to Excellence Awards–Photo Booth Pics

Photo Booth Pics 1

Photo Booth Pics 2

ProStart Teacher Training–Registration Begins Next Month!

The 20th Annual ProStart Teacher Training Institute will take place June 19-24, 2016. The week-long training provides Florida ProStart instructors with the knowledge necessary to teach the ProStart curriculum. Each day’s learning is built around topics covered in the ProStart curriculum.


All classes will be held at Johnson & Wales University (JWU) North Miami campus, 1701 NE 127th Street, North Miami, Florida, 33181.


The FRLAEF will cover the cost of all Florida ProStart instructors who will be teaching the ProStart curriculum during the 2016-2017 school year. Attendees will be responsible for their travel and some meals.


Registration will begin in the March 2016 NewsBites.

ProStart COA Update

The COA (ProStart Certificate of Achivement) Application System Now Has Simplified Record Merging: One of the biggest challenges with the new online COA Application system was For those students who register, login and don’t see their exam scores in their student profiles. They may now load exam results on their own, in most cases without Service Center assistance. To add the exam records to their “Track COA Progress” page, students will need their Exam Session Number(s) Here’s how it works:
1, The student should log in to the NRAEF website and go to Track COA Progress (in the drop-down menu under “Students”).
2. From that page, if there is a missing exam score, the students should return to the Student tab and then select “Exams” from the dropdown menu.
3. The student should then select “Check My Scores”.
4. On the next page the student can enter the exam session number in that box and then click “Find My Record”. The page will reload and there will be a message confirming that the exam record has been tied to their profiles.

NOTE: If the student’s name in the exam record(s) and the profile created during registration does not match exactly, (i.e. if the student took the exam as Jim Smith and registered as Jimmy Smith), the Service Center will need to facilitate the merge.

WebstaurantStore ScholarshipWebstaurantStore Scholarship 2016

WebstaurantStore, a leading online restaurant supply store, is offering an annual scholarship to all culinary arts and hospitality students. The winning applicant will receive $1,500 towards the cost of their education.

Attached is a flyer with a brief overview of the scholarship for your reference, but all of the application details and the 2016 essay question are available on our website at

Application is due by June 15, 2016.

Contact Evan Mellott with any questions:

Evan Mellott | Community Outreach

Summer 2016 Yellowstone National Park Employment Opportunities

For a number of years Yellowstone has had success hiring ProStart students. Yellowstone National Park Lodges is operated by Xanterra Parks and Resorts and provides services for more than three million visitors who come to Yellowstone National Park each year. They have a multitude of positions within the Food and Beverage industry. Click here for information about their Culinary Apprentice program and Culinary and Hospitality Internship Program.

Along with offering the best backyard in the United States they also offer the following;
Room and Board: Housing is dormitory style and includes utilities, internet, and free laundry. Food is all you can eat/ 3 meals per day. Cost is based on hours work but will not exceed $206.05 per pay check.
Pay: Base wage is $8.75 per hour for entry level positions
Bonus: Applicants receive a $3.00 per day bonus at the completion of their agreement.
New this year starting in mid-September all employees will receive a $2.00 per hour bonus until mid-October.
Apprenticeship: For students pursuing the culinary field we also offer an apprenticeship program.
Transfer Program: Applicants wishing to pursue a career and benefits with Xanterra can request to transfer to one of their other parks or stay on in Yellowstone for their winter season.
When hired, applicants will receive detailed information about their first day of employment, where they arrive and what to expect. They do not pay for travel to Yellowstone but they do pick employees up in Bozeman, Montana if they are traveling by bus or airplane.

The application is available on line at

ServSafe Materials

Each Premier and Full ProStart program are eligible for free ServSafe materials.  To ensure you get the materials you need, you must notify us of your needs.  Once we receive your ProStart Classification paperwork, you can order up to $350 of ServSafe materials. Click here for the ServSafe price list. Email Amy Parker to place your order–you do not need to fill out the form. Requests are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

ProStart Scantrons

The FRLAEF will distribute over $43,000 worth of free ProStart Exam Scantrons to Premier and Full ProStart schools during the 2015-2016 school year. Once a school has turned in their ProStart Classification paperwork, email Amy Parker to let her know how many ProStart Exam Scantrons you need. Requests are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Chipotle’s Culinary Classroom SeriesCMG-203 Cilinary Video Materials_R41

Chipotle is partnering with high school culinary programs to share some of the techniques they use at Chipotle everyday through a series of curated culinary videos.

The video series is part of their commitment to changing the way people think about and eat fast food—an effort that requires fresh ingredients, classical cooking techniques and exceptionally trained people, like the ones whose skills you’re sharpening every day.

For an interactive pdf that contains direct links to the videos, CLICK HERE. There are four culinary videos including Knife Skills, Mise en Place, Managing a Kitchen, and Tasting and Understanding Flavors.

Level One ProStart Exam Correction

A Level Two ProStart question was included in the Level One ProStart (Foundations of Restaurant Management & Culinary Arts) exam. That question has been removed from the Level One exam and replaced. As a result, the Level One exam has been re-issued as a new Exam Form. The new form is currently available on the Educator site. If you have already downloaded the Level One exam, please delete it and get the new exam from the ProStart website.