ProStart NewsBites August 2023







2023-2024 ProStart Opportunities

The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Foundation (FRLAEF) offers events, activities, monetary support as well as teacher and student support for your ProStart program. The FRLAEF believes participation in these activities can lead to a richer learning environment for you and your students.  Events and opportunities are listed throughout the August NewsBites below.

ProStart School Classification

At the beginning of each school year the FRLAEF asks schools to commit to their level of participation in the ProStart program. There are three levels of participation: PREMIER, FULL and CURRICULUM ONLY.


The FRLAEF will determine which schools qualify as Premier schools based on the benchmarks the school met during the 2022-2023 school year. In order to be classified as a Premier school this year, the program must complete the required work during the previous school year.  Schools that achieve Premier status receive a stipend of $750.

Schools may work to qualify for Premier status until the 2023 paperwork deadline, which typically means having students earn the ProStart Certificate of Achievement (COA). If you have students you believe can earn the COA, please let us know and we can walk you through the process.


Schools that have not earned the Premier level for the upcoming school year may choose between the Full and Curriculum Only classification.  Schools that achieve Full status receive a stipend of $300.


The FRLAEF will send an email to all ProStart schools containing classification details including which level of classification a school may achieve based on their participation from last year.  Please read through the details of the classification carefully to determine if you will be able to meet the requirements before committing. In order to be classified at any level, you must have and be using both the Level One and Level Two Foundations textbooks.

If the FRLAEF does not receive your commitment form by September 22, 2023, the FRLAEF will assume your school is a Curriculum Only program. This is an ANNUAL contract.

Mini Grants

The FRLAEF is offering $80,000 in Mini Grant funding to Premiere and Full Florida ProStart schools this year. There is no fixed amount for individual grant awards, but to assist your planning, the average award last year was $700.

There are two prerequisites for grant funding: 1) you must currently teach the ProStart curriculum, and 2) you must be a Premier or Full ProStart school.

The FRLAEF Board of Directors prefers to fund items that will make your classroom self-sustaining or equipment that will be used frequently throughout the year.  The board WILL NOT APPROVE most electronics to include printers, computers, iPads, and digital cameras.  They also do not typically approve field trips, curriculum (to include ServSafe and SafeStaff) and transportation.  Please include a good explanation of how the item will be used in the classroom as this is your justification for the purchase.  If you are new to Mini Grants, please let us know what questions you have!

The application deadline is Friday, September 22, 2023.


GRANT AWARD NOTIFICATION: The FRLAEF Board will meet in October to determine awards.

FRLAEF Regional Workshops–Registration Now Open!

The FRLAEF is offering six Regional Workshops this fall. ProStart teachers may bring up to five students to each event. There is no fee to attend a Regional Workshop which includes lunch and chef coats for participating ProStart students. Travel to and from Regional Workshops is at your own expense.

If Regional Workshops reach maximum capacity prior to the deadline, all subsequent schools will be placed on the waiting list. Most events begin at 8:30 am and conclude no later than 2:00 pm.

The UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality events are scheduled for September 26, October 17 and November 14.  Agenda is TBD.

All of the Keiser University events will be held in October. The Melbourne and Tallahassee events are BOTH on October 13. The Sarasota event is October 26.  The Tallahassee event will feature Asian cuisine. The other agendas are TBD.

Please do not register for more than one event. We only have space for first-time attendees at each event, so register for the event you are most interested in attending. If you are interested in another event, let us know and we will send you the link for the Waiting List.


The page contains details and registration links for all events.

Extreme ProStart Kitchen Makeover

The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Foundation (FRLAEF) is pleased to announce it will be providing one kitchen remodel grant to a Florida ProStart high school.  In order to be eligible for the grant, you must be a Premier ProStart program and teaching the ProStart curriculum during the upcoming 2023-2024 school year.

The FRLAEF is investing $50,000 into one Premier Florida ProStart school to provide much needed funds to renovate a kitchen facility.  These funds are for use in a ProStart class only.  Use of this funding to enhance programs outside of the ProStart curriculum is prohibited.

Premier ProStart schools will receive the application in a separate email.

APPLICATION DEADLINE:                   September 30, 2023


Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show

The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show is November 8-9, 2023 and is back at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The Show was recently sold so we do not have information regarding ProStart teacher and/or student participation.  As soon as we do, we will let you know.

For more information about the FRL Show, click here.

ProStart Culinary Team Competitions

The 23rd Annual ProStart Culinary Team Competitions will take place Friday, March 1, and Saturday, March 2, 2024 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando.

On Friday, March 1, most of the Culinary Teams and Management Teams will compete along with all Edible Centerpiece teams. On Saturday, March 2, the remaining Culinary and Management teams will compete along with all of the Waiter’s Relay Teams. The competition will be followed by an awards dinner at the Rosen Plaza Hotel.

STIPEND FOR COMPETING SCHOOLS   The FRLAEF will provide stipends to offset the cost of participating in the event. The stipend is TBD as it is based on the amount of teams that compete. However, it is typically $250 per competition.

RULES  Since Florida’s Culinary and Management Competitions mirror the national rules, we cannot release Florida’s competition rules until  the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation releases the national rules.  The Waiters Relay and the Edible Centerpiece competitions are unique events to Florida and will be released when the Culinary and Management rules are available.

HOTEL  The Rosen Plaza Hotel will be the host site for the 2024 ProStart Culinary Team Competitions.  The room rate at the Rosen Plaza is $149 per night.  To reserve hotel rooms contact the Rosen Plaza at 800-627-8258 and reference the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Educational Foundation.  The deadline to make hotel reservations is Monday, January 29, 2024. Do not wait to book your rooms!  You may always adjust your reservation as the event gets closer.


The application deadline is Friday, October 6, 2023. Applicants will be notified their status by Monday, October 16, 2023.




Universal Orlando’s Handheld Food Competition

Universal Orlando’s Handheld Food Competition

FRLA and UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality are excited to announce the 2nd Annual Universal Orlando’s Handheld Food Competition. This event will take place in three stages with the winning item being sold in one of Universal Orlando’s properties.  The first stage of the event will consist of teams submitting their menus and recipes.  The top ten entries will then be selected to compete in-person at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality.  The third and final stage of the competition will be the top three teams competing at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality where the winning item will be selected.

STAGE ONE: All entry paperwork due by October 3, 2023

STAGE TWO: Top 10 selected teams to Orlando on December 5, 2023

STAGE THREE: Top 3 selected teams cook and present handheld in Orlando on January 6, 2024

For the first stage, you may use any equipment you want as there are no restrictions concerning electric or battery-operated devices.  For each subsequent stage, we will discuss the equipment provided in the kitchens to ensure teams have everything they need.  Also for the first stage, make sure EVERYTHING is correct in your recipes which includes math, measurements, etc as the judges will be looking at every detail.  Finally, a handheld item does not necessarily mean it must be eaten while walking around in a theme park.  It may be better to think along the lines of an item that can be eaten without utensils.

CLICK HERE for complete competition rules.

The winners of the inaugural competition were Lake Region High School. Their Lake Region Avocado Puff is pictured above and can be seen here on Universal Orlando’s Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen menu.

Hospitality Industry Internships

The Hospitality Industry Internship (HII) provides the opportunity for Florida ProStart & HTM instructors to work in a foodservice/lodging establishment for at least 40 hours. Once the required paperwork has been processed, the participant will receive a personal check for $600.

To qualify for an HII, the instructor must teach the ProStart, HTM, or HTMP curriculum during the 2023-2024 school year. If you are already employed at a restaurant or hotel, you MAY NOT use that site for your internship. The restaurant/hotel must be a new work experience for you, not somewhere you have worked before or used as an HII internship location.

The applicant must secure a position at a foodservice or lodging facility where a minimum of 40 hours of hands-on experience is guaranteed. The host location may pay the recipient but is not required to do so.

The FRLAEF will award 11 HII’s this school year on a first-come, first-served basis. So apply NOW! Work experience may begin once the applicant receives an award notification from the FRLAEF.


Salute to Excellence Awards Dinner

The Salute to Excellence Awards will take place on Saturday, March 2, 2024 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando. The awards dinner will recognize all ProStart Competition, Pineapple Award, Scholarship recipients and Hospitality Excellence Awardees.

ProStart instructors will have the opportunity to recognize one student during the awards dinner with a Hospitality Excellence Award. These students will be called on stage during the awards dinner and recognized with a certificate.

All ProStart instructors may receive a complimentary ticket to the awards dinner. Hospitality Excellence Award students receive two complimentary tickets, one for them and one for a guest.

Registration will begin in January 2024.

Complimentary Foodsafety Materials (ServSafe and/or SafeStaff)

Each Premier and Full ProStart program is eligible for free ServSafe or SafeStaff materials.  Once we receive your ProStart Classification paperwork (i.e.. Premier or Full), you can order up to $350 of complimentary ServSafe/SafeStaff materials through a link we will send you.

Complimentary ProStart Exam Materials

The FRLAEF will distribute over $25,000 worth of free ProStart Exam materials to Premier and Full ProStart schools during the 2023-2024 school year. Once a school has turned in their ProStart Classification paperwork, you may order ProStart exam materials through a link we send you.

Complimentary ServSuccess Materials

ServSuccess is a stackable foodservice industry credential. The entry level certification is Certified Restaurant Professional (CRP). Individuals must have 400 hours of industry experience along with the ServSafe exam to be eligible to sit for the CRP. No training is required but five modules are offered.

If you would like to take the courses and/or the exam, email Amy Parker to let her know and she will get you signed up for free!

The link below will provide you with additional information on CRP.


The FRLAEF will award at least $50,000 in scholarships during the 2023-2024 school year. Each scholarship awarded will be in the amount of $2,000 and will be a one-time, non-renewable scholarship. 

To be eligible for this scholarship the applicant must:

• Be a graduating senior who will begin post-secondary education in 2024
• Be entering a culinary or hospitality post-secondary program
• Return a copy of their OFFICIAL high school transcript to FRLAEF by application deadline

APPLICATION TIMELINE  The FRLAEF Scholarship application will become available in December NewsBites. The application deadline is Friday, February 2, 2024. For an application to be considered, the FRLAEF must receive the completed online application and a copy of the student’s transcript by February 2, 2024. Scholarships will be awarded during the Salute to Excellence Awards on March 2, 2024. Awardees do not have to be present to win.

COMPLETE THE FULL APPLICATION!  For the last five years, each applicant that has returned a completed application has received a scholarship. It only takes a few minutes, so please encourage your students to complete the process.

ProStart Teacher Training 

The FRLAEF will conduct two ProStart Teacher Training events during summer 2024. Training will be held at the Keiser University Sarasota campus and at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality in Orlando. Both events will begin on Tuesday evening and conclude at Friday lunch.


The FRLAEF will cover the cost of all Florida ProStart instructors who will be teaching the ProStart curriculum during the 2024-2025 school year. Attendees will be responsible for their travel and some meals.


Online registration will begin Spring 2024.