ProStart NewsBites October 2016

2016 Premier ProStart Schools

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 determined which schools qualified as Premier based on the benchmarks the school met during the 2015-2016  school year.


Bayside High School, Stuart Gray, Christopher Cox, Instructors

Bethlehem High School, Sheila Richards, InstructorPremier Logo

Bowers/Whitley Career Center, Cheryl White, Instructor

Dixie Hollins High School, Christy Rabich, Instructor

Dunnellon High School, Melissa Mosby, Instructor

Eastside High School, Billie DeNunzio, Pam Bedford, Instructors

Golden Gate High School, Maria Isabel Crisanti, Instructor

Hialeah High School, Kathy Gonzalez, Instructor

Holmes County High School, April Coe, Instructor

J.P. Taravella High School, Scott Goodman, Instructor

Lake Worth Community High, Emmanuelle Suarez, Instructor

Lecanto High School, Suzanne Sheffeild, Instructor

Mainland High School, Jason Kester, Troy Logan, Instructors

Martin County High School, Shuan Southwick, Ashley Sesta, Instructors

Middleburg High School, Amy Surita, Instructor

Palmetto Ridge High School, Richard Wilkey, Instructor

South County Career Center, Patrick Artz, Instructor

South Plantation High School, Judy Baker, Jacqueline Lowe, Instructors

South Tech Academy, Suzanne O’Neil, Instructor

Tarpon Springs High School, Cathleen Ryan, Vincenzo Pesce, Tony DeVincenzo, Instructors

Terry Parker High School, Ginger Stehlin, Dean Hanapel, Instructors

ProStart Culinary Team Competitions–DEADLINE THIS MONTH

The 17th Annual ProStart Culinary Team Competitions will take place Friday, March 3 — Saturday, March 4, 2017 at the RosenComp Logo1 Plaza Hotel in Orlando.

On Friday, March 3, half of the Culinary Teams and Management Teams will compete along with all Edible Centerpiece teams. On Saturday, March 4, the remaining Culinary and Management teams will compete along with all of the Waiter Relay Teams. The competition will be followed by an awards dinner at the Rosen Plaza Hotel.

AID FOR COMPETING SCHOOLS   The FRLAEF will provide stipends to offset the cost of participating in the event. The stipend amount will be announced when the number of competing teams is finalized.

RULES  The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) is amending the rules to the Culinary and Management Competitions.  There will be rule changes to the Management and Culinary Competitions.  Since Florida’s Culinary and Management Competitions mirror the national rules, we can not release the Florida competition rules until NRAEF has released the national rules.  The Waiters Relay and the Edible Centerpiece competitions are unique events to Florida.

HOTEL  The Rosen Plaza Hotel will be the host site for the 2017 ProStart Culinary Team Competitions.  The room rate at the Rosen Plaza is $129 per night.

Based on other groups in the hotel and our past room night totals, the Rosen Plaza does expect to be full during our event.  In the event they can not accommodate all of our guest, they are offering hotels at the Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando.  The rates at the Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando are $109 per night.

To reserve hotel rooms at either property, please contact the Rosen Plaza/Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando at 800-627-8258 and reference the FRLAEF ProStart Competition Salute to Excellence.  The deadline to make hotel reservations is February 3, 2017 or when the hotel reaches capacity.

PARTICIPATION  CLICK HERE for the competition application. The application deadline is Friday, October 14, 2016. Applicants will be notified their status by Friday, October 21, 2016.

Hospitality Industry Internships–DEADLINE THIS MONTHHII Logo Template4

The Hospitality Industry Internship (HII) provides the opportunity for Florida ProStart instructors to work in a foodservice establishment for at least 40 hours. At the completion of 40 work hours, the HII participant will receive a check for $600 from the FRLAEF.

To qualify for an internship, the instructor must teach the ProStart curriculum during the 2016-2017 school year. The goal of the HII is to provide the instructor an opportunity to learn fresh skills in a new setting. If you are currently employed at a restaurant, you MAY NOT use that site for your internship. The restaurant must also be a new work experience for you, not somewhere you have worked before or used as a past HII internship location.  Work experience may begin once the applicant receives an award letter from the FRLAEF.

If you are awarded an internship and do not complete the required work component, you will be ineligible to receive an internship for the 2017-2018 school year. The applicant must secure a position at a foodservice 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.


AWARD NOTIFICATION: October 21, 2016


CLICK HERE to fill out the online application.

FRLAEF Student of the Year

The FRLA Hospitality Stars of the Industry Gala took place on September 28, 2016 in Orlando. It was an FRLA event that recognized Florida’s Chef of the Year, Hotel General Manager of the Year, Hotel Employee of the Year, Restaurant Gensofia-slimakeral Manager of the Year, Restaurant Employee of the Year and Educational Foundation Student of the Year.

A panel of judges selected the top nominee in each category. The panel consisted of restaurateurs, hoteliers and allied members. The top three students were recognized during the Gala.

FRLAEF STUDENT OF THE YEAR–SOFIA SLIMAK  Sofia Slimak is currently a Junior at Mainland High School in Daytona Beach. She has been a member of the Academy of Hospitality and Culinary Arts since winter of her Freshmen year. The academy she is involved in is a Gold Star ProStart program. She has been a head manager for the past two years, and is now the academy ambassador. She is instrumental in running the catering that funds the program. This involves planning, customer communication, shopping, and training student groups. She was drawn to the by her interest in logistics and management. On top of culinary, Sofia is highly involved with other school activities. She is a lead in the Technology Empowerment Center to help evolve technology integration in public schools. She is also a Captain of the robotics team and the Vice President of the Technology Student Association. As a Captain of the Academic Club, she organized numerous events such like BUCTalks (which is much like the famous TED Talks) and organizing the Academic Team tournament county wide. On top of school, Sofia works as a hostess and server assistant at Rose Villa, a local restaurant.


Jose Murillo, Inlet Grove Community High School, Riviera Beach

Tyler Chaffin, Belleview High School, Belleview


The FRLAEF is offering eight Regional Workshops this fall. ProStart teachers may bring up to five students to each event. There is no fee to attend a Regional Workshop. Lunch will be provided for all attendees at each event. Chef coats will be given to all participating ProStart students at most event. (Chef coats will not be provided to students that attend the Showcase of the Stars event.)

If Regional Workshop locations 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.

CLICK HERE to go to our Regional Workshop page.

NRAEF Data Collection (Fall Survey)

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) ProStart Data Collection is currently under way. The survey was emailed to all ProStart schools on Tuesday, September 20, 2016. The email came from  If you did not receive your survey, double-check your spam/junk folder. If you can’t find it, let us know and we will get it resent to you.

After we receive confirmation you have completed the survey, we will contact you. At that time you may request $350 in free Foodsafety Training materials.of

In case you missed it, CLICK HERE to see how FRLAEF has restructured Foodsafety Training material awards.

Interesting Links in the Food + Culinary World

Sourdough Starter Experiment

Food Travel: Tinos, Greece

10 Restaurants That Help Shape America

Make a Giant Ice Cream Sandwich!

McDonald’s Is Trying Out Breakfast Happy Meals

The Funniest Tweets About Food

When Menus Take Themselves Too Seriously

school-posterChopped Junior Competition

Whole Child Leon is proud to host a Tallahassee Chopped Junior Competition and Silent Auction Event at The Moon on October 30, 2016. Youth ages 9-17 will compete for an opportunity to audition with the Executive Producer and Casting Director of Chopped.

100 Youth competitors will be divided into two age categories 9-13 & 14-17. Celebrity judges will sample contestant dishes. The evening will culminate with four finalists being chosen for an opportunity to audition with the executive producer and casting director of the Food Network’s popular Chopped Junior TV show.  From the four, a finalist will be chosen and flown to New York City for an audition on the Chopped Junior set.

Contestants will be contacted via e-mail on October 12, 2016. The competition signature dish ingredient list will be e-mailed to all contestants along with detailed instructions and event guidelines. The registration fee for contestants is $30.

The event takes place in Tallahassee but is open to any Florida resident.

CLICK HERE for additional event information and to register.

Mini GrantsMini Grant Logo4

The FRLAEF Board met last week and awarded $80,000 in Mini Grant Funds. If you applied, you will be notified of your award by October 7, 2016. Funds must be spend no later than November 18, 2016.

Once you receive your award email, we will be happy to order your materials for you. You may choose to use your own purveyor and send us the receipt for reimbursement.  All details will be in the award email.

Salute to Excellence Awards Dinner

The Salute to Excellence Awards will take place on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando. The awards dinner will recognize all ProStart Competition, Pineapple Award, Scholarship recipients and Hospitality Excellence Awardees. Registration will begin in December 2016.

Foodsafety Materials

Each Premier and Full ProStart program is eligible for free Foodsafety materials.  To ensure you get the materials you need, you must notify us.  Once we receive your ProStart Classification paperwork, you can order up to $350 of Foodsafety 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.

In case you missed it, CLICK HERE to see how FRLAEF has restructured Foodsafety Training material awards.

ProStart Scantrons

The FRLAEF will distribute over $25,000 worth of free ProStart Exam Scantrons to Premier and Full ProStart schools during the 2016-2017 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.


The FRLAEF will award $44,000 in scholarships during the 2016-2017 school year. These scholarships will be awarded during the Salute to Excellence Awards in the Spring. The scholarship application will be available in late Fall.

ProStart Teacher Training Institute–Save the Date

The 20th Annual ProStart Teacher Training Institute will take place in June 18-23, 2017. The week-long training providesTTI 2016 background WHITE-min-1 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 2017-2018 school year. Attendees will be responsible for their travel and some meals.


Online registration will begin Spring 2017.