ProStart NewsBites October 2019

ProStart Competition–Application Closes Friday, October 11!

The 20th Annual ProStart Culinary Team Competitions will take place Saturday, March 7–Sunday, March 8, 2020 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando.

On Saturday, March 7, half of the Culinary and Management teams will compete along with all Edible Centerpiece teams. On Sunday, March 8, 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 the evening of Sunday, March 8.

STIPEND FOR COMPETING SCHOOLS   The FRLAEF will provide stipends to offset the cost of participating in the event. Participating schools will receive $250 per event in which they compete.

RULES  The rules can be found on our competition page.

HOTEL  The Rosen Plaza Hotel will be the host site for the 2020 ProStart Culinary Team Competitions.  The room rate at the Rosen Plaza is $129 per night.  The deadline to make hotel reservations is Tuesday, February 4, 2020.  However, if the hotel sells out before the deadline then schools will have to find another option.  Do not wait to book your hotel rooms.  Do so now!  You can always cancel or change your reservation.

To reserve hotel rooms, use THIS LINK or contact the Rosen Plaza at 800-627-8258 and reference the FRLAEF ProStart Competition Salute to Excellence.

PARTICIPATION  CLICK HERE for the competition application. The application deadline is Friday, October 11, 2019. Applicants will be notified their status by Friday, October 18, 2019.

FRLAEF Regional Workshops–Register Now!

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 each event. Travel to and from events is at your own expense.

If a Regional Workshop reaches maximum capacity prior to the deadline, all subsequent schools will be placed on the waiting list.  Two Regional Workshops have already reached capacity and have wait list so do not wait to register as space may not be available.  Most events begin at 8:30 am and conclude no later than 2:00 pm.

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.

CLICK HERE for the Regional Workshop page with details and registrations links for each event.

Rosen College at UCF — Webinar Series Survey

The Rosen College at UCF is unveiling a new webinar series called “What’s Cooking with Chef Jay.” This webinar series will include culinary skills tips as well as content on employment and industry related careers that will be available to all ProStart teachers.

The goal is to create a valuable resource that will be meaningful to new and veteran teachers. Please take the survey to assist the Rosen College at UCF with determining timing and developing content.

CLICK HERE to take the quick survey.

FRLAEF ProStart Student of the Year

The FRLAEF ProStart Student of the Year is Sarah Gruber from the ProStart program at Northeast High School in St. Petersburg.  Ms. Gruber spent her entire high school career placing in various culinary competitions to include SkillsUSA and ProStart while also winning her school’s Viking Chopped Competition three years in a row.  She was a cross country runner, in Mu Alpha Theta, a member of the SGA and the National Honor Society.  All of this was while she worked at the Renaissance Vinoy and took Dual Enrollment classes.  Ms. Gruber finished off her high school career as Valedictorian of her class.  She just started Johnson & Wales University where she is studying Commercial Baking.  Thanks to her dual enrollment classes she is almost a sophomore with plans to finish her Bachelors Degree in three years. Ms. Gruber was awarded a $2,000 scholarship from the Garrett Hughes Foundation.


Second Annual Grilled Cheese Competition Winners

The Second Annual Grilled Cheese Competition was once again hosted by the Central Florida Chapter of the ACF along with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.  The event was held during the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show.  Fifteen Florida ProStart schools competed for prize money and trophies while being judged by ACF chefs as well as the public.  Winners were announced for the Judges Choice as well as People’s Choice.  Congratulations to all of the participating schools!

Congratulations to the winners:


1sr Place: Dixie Hollins High School — Prepared: Prosciutto Crusted Grilled Cheese with Arugula Salad
Ooey gooey Tuscan sundried tomato pesto and four cheese grilled sandwich with a crispy prosciutto crust. Served
alongside a fresh arugula salad.

2nd Place: East Ridge High School–Prepared: Vegalicious Cheesy Supreme
This incredibly delicious sandwich on thick sliced multigrain bread features Roth Wisconsin havarti and baby swiss.
Stuffed with grilled zucchini, red onions, mushrooms and homemade seasoning. Grilled to a crispy golden brown.

3rd Place: Wekiva High School–Prepared: It’s Always Sunny in Caprese
Parmesan crusted sourdough stuffed with the fresh flavors of Southern Italy: fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, sliced tomato, roast garlic, and pesto. Served with sundried tomato dipping sauce.


1st Place Tie:  Dixie Hollins High School and Winter Park High School

Winter Park High School prepared: Chicken Jack the Muenster Grilled Cheese
Out of this world caramelized peppers and onions tossed with finely shredded teriyaki chicken situated on gooey pepper jack and muenster cheese. All dripping out of perfectly golden brown toast.

And the Extreme ProStart Kitchen Makeover Goes To . . .

. . . Coral Shores High School in Tavernier! Congratulations to Corie McGraw, ProStart teacher at Coral Shores High School who won the 2019 $50,000 Extreme ProStart Kitchen Makeover Grant.  Chef McGraw is getting input from the local foodservice industry on a better layout for her kitchen.  She plans to replace the unusable equipment with new, working equipment.  Some of the items to be replaced are nonfunctioning reach-in coolers and ranges.

South Lake High Prepares Gala Desserts

A group of ProStart students from South Lake High School in Groveland prepared and distributed desserts for 300 attendees at the FRLA Gala held during the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show.  Thank you to Chef Huxhold and Chef Thunberg for once again assisting with this event!

Whole Foods Markets — 5% Community Giving Day

Whole Foods Markets has selected the FRLAEF has a recipient of their 5% Community Giving Day.  The FRLAEF 5% Community Giving Day will be Thursday, October 17.  Five percent of the day’s net sales will be used for scholarships awarded through the FRLAEF.  The scholarships will be awarded at the Salute to Excellence Awards for graduating seniors to use during the 2020-2021 school year.

Click on picture to enlarge.







Path to Power Series

The Path to Power series profiles executives in the hospitality industry and the career path they took to get there.  These articles were compiled for Florida’s ProStart and HTMP students. We emailed these last month, but are posting here in case you missed them.

Article #1

Article #2

Article #3

Article #4

Article #5

Article #6

Osceola County Fair Cake Decorating Contest

The Osceola County Fair in Kissimmee is looking for ProStart schools to compete in their cake decorating contest in February 2020. The top three teams will receive prizes. They have not set a date for the competition, but the fair dates are February 14-23, 2020.

If you are interested in bringing a team, let us know!

Mini Grants

The FRLAEF received 132 Mini Grant applications from HTMP and ProStart programs this year. Awards were determined during the Ed Foundation Board meeting which was held during the FRLA Show.  Laura Rumer emailed the award information the week of September 16.  If you applied for a mini grant and did not receive an award email, please contact Laura at

Don’t forget to spend your Mini Grant funds!  Awarded funds must be spent no later than November 15, 2019.

NRAEF Data Collection (Fall Survey)

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) will continue its ProStart Data Collection this year. The survey process will be a little different as it is being hosted on the website.  However, the content of the survey will be the same.   The survey is going live THIS WEEK so be on the lookout for an email from NRAEF!

Once you complete the survey, the FRLAEF will send you an email to request $350 worth of free foodsafety materials. This is on a first-come, first served basis, so complete your NRAEF survey as soon as possible.

Coast Guard Offers Signing Bonus to ProStart Students

The United States Coast Guard is now hiring culinary graduates and students who have real skills.  They are offering a signing bonus of up to $40k for an AA in Culinary or Pastry Arts.  The signing bonus for students with the National ProStart certification is $30k!  If any of your students are interested, please have them contact CSC Andrew Rupp.

CSC Andrew Rupp is also available to visit your class to speak directly with the students.  Please contact him directly to schedule a visit. If you don’t live in the Tampa area, he can arrange for a local CSC to visit your class. Click the flyers to enlarge.

CSC Andrew Rupp

Recruiting Office Tampa Bay

11022 4th ST N.

St. Petersburg, FL 33716

(o) 727-579-3849 ext 138

(c) 727-543-0601

(f) 727-579-8079

Hospitality Industry Internships

The Hospitality Industry Internship (HII) provides the opportunity for Florida ProStart & HTMP 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/HTMP curriculum during the 2019-2020 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.

Salute to Excellence Awards Dinner

The Salute to Excellence Awards will take place on Sunday, March 8, 2020 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 January 2020.

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.

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.

Complimentary ProStart Scantrons

The FRLAEF will distribute over $25,000 worth of free ProStart Exam Scantrons to Premier and Full ProStart schools during the 2019-2020 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 at least $44,000 in scholarships during the 2019-2020 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 24th Annual ProStart Teacher Training Institute will take place in June 21-26, 2020. 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 2020-2021 school year. Attendees will be responsible for their travel and some meals.


Online registration will begin Spring 2020.

Thanks to our sponsors!