ProStart NewsBites March 2023

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ProStart Competition Results


 1st Place – Martin County High School

            Instructors:         Shaun Southwick, Ashley Sesta       

 2nd – Wekiva High School

                       Instructors:       Christopher Bates, Matthew Makransky

 3rd Place – Strawberry Crest High School

                      Instructors:         Paul Bonanno, Jeremy Walburn

4th Place – Coral Springs High School

                      Instructors:       Aruna Lien, Tylor Cole

5th Place – TIE – Dixie Hollins High School          

            Instructors:       Christy Rabich, Tara Bishop  

5th Place – TIE – Bethlehem High School       

            Instructor:       Chelsea Herndon

Keiser University Culinary Competition

 1st Place – Martin County High School

            Instructors:     Shaun Southwick, Ashley Sesta

            Students:          Lily Tax, Paige Williams, Sophia Poirier, Georgia Poirier, Dominic Padovano 

2nd Place – Strawberry Crest High School

            Instructors:         Paul Bonanno, Jeremy Walburn

            Students:          Sydnie Gutierrez, Julian Alvarado, Emma Langston, Mayte Hernandez-Diaz           

3th Place – Winter Park High School

           Instructor:       Chris Whitlow

            Students:          Maria Santana, Madison Bryant, Murry Critcher, Audrey Alamina 

4th Place – Wekiva High School

            Instructors:       Christopher Bates, Matthew Makransky

            Students:           Greta Torres, Erick Hendrickson, Nicholas Eberle, Josephina Russo, Travis Grider 

5th Place – Lake Minneola High School

           Instructors:       Nick Sandora, Lance Bowles

            Students:          Anthony Miller, Kyndall Meacham, Elliot Lewis, Calvin Skolnik

Rosen College at UCF Management Competition

 1st Place – Wekiva High School

           Instructors:       Christopher Bates, Matthew Makransky

            Students:            Danny Ha, Ishia Vilus, Judah Myers, Keyshia Acevedo-Ares                           

2nd Place – Coral Springs High School

           Instructors:         Aruna Lien, Tylor Cole

            Students:          Mariah Almodovar, Avinash Seepersad, Rylie Feller, Lanaya Nesmith

3rd Place – John A. Ferguson High School

           Instructors:       Janett Toledo, Jorge Garcia and Jebel Cordoba

            Students:          Kayla Quintero, Teresa Kinnaird, Rebecca Wylie 

4th Place – Strawberry Crest High School

           Instructors:         Paul Bonanno, Jeremy Walburn

            Students:          Lauren Trotto, Connor Butler, Katya King 

5th Place – Winter Springs High School

           Instructors:       Adam Efland, Duane Brevoort

            Students:          Aaron Lambert, Shia Lorenzano, Ellyanna Rivera

Edible Centerpiece

1st Place – Bethlehem High School

           Instructors:       Chelsea Herndon

            Student:          Kadence Phillips 

2nd – Bayside High School

           Instructors:       Stuart Gray, Chris Cox

            Students:          Mikayla Daily 

3rd Place – Steinbrenner High School

            Instructors:       Cheryl White

            Student:            Payton Miller 

4th Place – St. Lucie West Centennial High School

            Instructors:         Christina Gedke-Balaschak, Evan Fraum

            Student:          Kamiel Miller 

5th Place – TIE – Martin County High School

            Instructor:         Shaun Southwick, Ashley Sesta

            Student:            Melissa Rivera

5th Place – TIE – Coral Springs High School

           Instructors:       Aruna Lien, Tylor Cole

            Student:            Lucia Bedoya

Waiter’s Relay

1st Place – Dixie Hollins High School           

            Instructors:       Christy Rabich,  Tara Bishop

            Students:          Ty Cranston, Philip Smith, Justice Calle           

2nd Place – JP Taravella High School

           Instructors:       Scott Goodman

            Students:          Myah Joseph, Pharrell Williams, Natalie Pisani 

3rd Place – Martin County High School

            Instructors:         Shaun Southwick, Ashley Sesta

            Students:          Gage Meskauskas, Jake Chase, Alex Garces-Kaline 

4th Place – Chipley High School

            Instructor:         Sandra Solger

            Students:            Gretchen Green, Kaitlin Thompson, Carolynn Vanderbrink

5th Place – Steinbrenner High School

            Instructors:       Cheryl White

            Students:            Sophie Lopez, Amaya Pollack, Julissa Teran     





Here are all the Edible Centerpieces in one photo (click to enlarge):










FRLAEF Scholarships Awarded

The FRLAEF awarded $70,000 in scholarships during the Salute to Excellence Awards on March 5, 2023.


As a recipient of an FRLAEF Scholarship, students receive a one-time $2,000 scholarship to the post-secondary institution of your choice. Students should be pursuing a degree in culinary arts or hospitality. This scholarship is contingent upon the FRLAEF receiving verification students are enrolled in a post-secondary institution. This is confirmed when they email the FRLAEF your Student ID Number, the Financial Aid mailing address, and name of your college. The FRLAEF must receive this required documentation no later than June 9, 2023. Once we receive the verification, the scholarship check is mailed to the student’s college and they will deposit it in the student’s account.

2023 ProStart Teacher of the Year

The 2023 ProStart Teacher of the Year is Chris Bates. Chef Bates has 350 students enrolled in his culinary magnet program. He has earned the ProStart Premier status and has already secured the Premier status for the 2023-2024 school year. 

His students do everything from taking the ProStart exams and the ServSafe exams to working in the industry.  In their “free” time, they have competed in Texas at the NASA competition and in the Universal Orlando Handheld Competition.  They have also participated in local events from Apopka Arts Festival to catering for Apopka’s Mayor. 

As a result of winning ProStart Teacher of the Year, Chef Bates will participate in the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) ProStart Professional Development event in Dallas as well as the Educator of Excellence awards. He also has the opportunity to win the James H. Maynard Teacher of the Year award which includes a $10,000 cash prize. Good luck Chef Bates!

ProStart Teacher Training Registration Open!

There are two separate ProStart Teacher Training weeks this year.

June 13-16 — UCF Rosen College of Hospitality, Orlando
June 20-23 — Keiser University, Sarasota campus

Teachers may choose one training to attend which will be on a first-come, first-served basis through the registration online.

Due to the nature of the schools, the agendas will be different for each event. Detailed agendas will be available in May.

The UCF Rosen College of Hospitality event will cover several topics to include Soups and Salads, Appetizers and Advanced Plating Techniques.  The group will have offsite field trips.

The ProStart Teacher Training at Keiser University in Sarasota’s kitchen time will focus on Sustainability, International Favorites and Sweet Treats.  The group will have offsite field trips.


All attendees must be teaching the ProStart curriculum during the 2023-2024 school year.

Participants must adhere to all UCF Rosen College of Hospitality and Keiser University professional codes of sanitation and grooming. Each participant must wear chef pants (no jeans) as well as non-skid, hard toe shoes.
The FRLAEF, along with its sponsors, covers the cost for all attendees. This includes instruction, lodging, chef coat and take-home educational materials. Most meals will be provided. Accommodations for both events will be in a local hotel (TBD) and each participant will have their own room. FRLAEF will cover the cost of the room nights.

Attendees are responsible for their own transportation to the event as well as to and from the campuses each day.

Registration closes on May 5, 2023. If the events fill up prior to May 5, there will be a Wait List.

Each venue can hold 50 attendees. As there are over 270 Florida ProStart teachers, you may only register for one event.


UCF Rosen News

UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management is excited to announce the launch of a new Bachelor of Science in Theme Park and Attraction Management. Set to launch in Fall of 2023, this unique degree will emphasize the management, creativity, and technology aspects of theme parks and attractions. Located next to the world’s top theme parks, the degree features many internship opportunities as well as applied projects in the industry. More details will be available soon at Admissions questions can be directed to

Seminole County Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Matthew Thompson who was named Seminole County Public Schools High School Teacher of the Year. Chef Thompson is one of three ProStart teachers at Hagerty High School. He said, “This is a great recognition for both our program and for every CTE program throughout the state that continues to grow and put our students in a position of being employable.”

Chef Thompson was also a finalist for the overall Teacher of the Year for the county but the award went to a local elementary school teacher. Thompson said, “I wanted to remind everyone that CTE programs are a vital part of our educational system and can really make an impact on the lives of our students. It is so cool to see our students working throughout all sectors of the hospitality industry throughout the state.”


FRLAEF Post Secondary Scholarship Now Open!

Please complete the following and return with a copy of your Official Transcript. One or two post-secondary recipients will be selected.

In order to be eligible for this scholarship the applicant must:

• Be enrolled at a post-secondary school pursuing a culinary or hospitality program–Summer/Fall 2023 term
• Return your transcript by application deadline

The scholarship amount is based on investment returns and award amounts fluctuate from year to year. Two to three $1,000 scholarships will be awarded. This is a one-time, non-renewable award. However, students may reapply each year.

Application deadline:  May 19, 2023
Applicants notified award status by: May 26, 2023


NRAEF Scholarship Open Now Through March 15

The National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) Scholarship application opened on January 15. Scholarships range between $2,500–$10,000.

Undergraduate Scholarship Timeline

  • January 15: Scholarship Application Opens
  • March 15: Application Closes
  • April – May: Scholarship Application Review
  • June: Scholarship Award Notifications
  • July – August: Scholarship Claiming and Payments
  • August 15: Deadline to Claim Scholarship

CLICK HERE for the scholarship page and more information.

AHLA Scholarship Application Open Through March 15

The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) offers two types of scholarships:

  • Self-nominated – open to all hospitality management students enrolled in a U.S. college or university
  • School-nominated – requires school affiliation with the AHLA Foundation

All hospitality students, regardless of where they attend school, have access to more than $500,000 in scholarships offered through the Foundation’s self-nominated scholarships:

This year, the Foundation will disburse $1 million through its nine hospitality management scholarship programs for students ranging from freshmen to graduate students. Some scholarships are reserved for current hotel employees or minorities. Others are open to full-time or part-time students. Award amounts range from $500 to $7,500.

Applicants must be enrolled in a hospitality-related degree-granted program at a US college or university. Qualifying majors include programs such as hotel/restaurant management, culinary arts, travel/tourism and hotel administration. Each scholarship has additional requirements as well, so be sure to read them all before deciding which ones to apply for.
CLICK HERE for the application. Application closes March 15. Scholarship checks are mailed over the summer.

Summer Employment Opportunity

Summer Camp Cooks, a Summer Camp Food Service Management, provides meals for thousands of Campers and Staff over the summer around the USA. They are looking to connect with organizations that would like to provide their members, students, or staff opportunities to work in a quantity cooking environment in the summertime in beautiful camp locations.

Website link:

Here is a website where Chefs can create a profile and see our jobs:

Contact Alex Lagios at (954) 607-2231 for more information.

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 2022-2023 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.

CLICK HERE to apply.



Complimentary Foodsafety Materials

Each Premier and Full ProStart program is eligible for free ServSafe or SafeStaff 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/SafeStaff materials. Click here for the 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.

The FRLAEF will not send you foodsafety materials unless you request them.  Please do not forget to request the materials.

Complimentary ProStart Scantrons

The FRLAEF will distribute over $25,000 worth of free ProStart Exam Scantrons to Premier and Full ProStart schools during the 2022-2023 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.

Complimentary ServSuccess Materials

ServSuccess was introduced last year by the National Restaurant Association. It 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.