ProStart NewsBites October 2023







October Deadlines

Listed below are the October deadlines. Don’t miss out on any opportunities this year!


  • ProStart Competition Application Closes at Midnight


  • Universal Orlando Handheld Competition Entry Paperwork Due


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  The 2024 Competition Rules are available on the Competition webpage:

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 or USE THIS LINK to reserve online.  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 Handheld Food Competition

FRLA and UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality are excited to announce the 2nd Annual Universal Orlando 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.

NEW DEADLINE – STAGE ONE: All entry paperwork due by FRIDAY, October 13, 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.

We are excited to announce Dr. Cynthia Mejia has been chosen as the Interim Dean for UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality!  Since this position will require a lot of her time, Chef Jay Judy will now handle the Stage One entries for the Universal Orlando Handheld Competition.  Please email your entry to Chef Judy at no later then Friday, October 13.

CLICK HERE for complete competition rules.

Recipe, Costing, Menu Templates

Substitute Ingredient Template

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.

NRAEF Data Collection Survey Now Open!

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) conducts a survey each fall regarding ProStart classrooms across the nation. The survey was emailed out the end of September. The survey comes from If you are a new ProStart school, you will need to register online. If you did not receive this information please contact us at

Once you complete the survey, you will be eligible for $350 in free foodsafety from the FRLAEF.  After completing the survey, look for an email from Amy Parker with details on claiming your complimentary foodsafety training.

Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show

The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show takes place Wednesday, November 8 – Thursday, November 9, 2023 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Only ProStart and HTM teachers may receive complimentary registration using the Promo Code below.

ProStart and HTM students will NOT be allowed on the Show floor this year.

PROMO CODE:  prostart


For more information about the FRL Show, click here.

Get Social With Us!

With the 2023-2024 school year underway, FRLA would love to highlight our participating ProStart programs and your creative side. We know how much fun your learning experience is and want to show that off, encouraging others to join in and eventually, hopefully, join Florida’s hospitality industry! Here are a few tips and suggestions for you, and don’t forget, whenever you post, tag @frlanews and we can share your post as well. Keep an eye out for future updates on ProStart social media competitions too!📱


Be creative with your content. Here are a few fun possible content ideas:

  • Come with us to class! (a video montage of a fun activity during class)
  • POV: You’re in high school and want to be a culinary student! (or You’re in high school and want to go into hospitality!) over a video collage of footage from the class
  • Maybe during September the focus could highlight key elements of Food Safety for Food Safety Month – this could be each student on video giving a food safety tip. Tagging FRLA and the appropriate Food Safety Month #…
  • Challenge others to join ProStart …The top 3 reasons you should join ProStart…with fun footage or text/caption over photo/video from students.
  • Hashtag challenge – create a fun hashtag
  • Take someone through a full recipe, or other task

Most importantly, have fun and tag @FRLAnews!

UCF Rosen Open House

University of Central Florida Rosen College of Hospitality Management is hosting the Rosen College Open House for prospective students and their families on Friday, October 20th.  Space is limited and Reservations are strongly encouraged. If your students are interested in UCF Rosen College, please encourage them to register at

If you would like to schedule a group visit at the Rosen College Campus, please e-mail Group tours are offered on select Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the semester and the experience takes about 90 minutes. The visit will include an admissions information session and tour of the campus as well as Rosen College Apartments.

Mini Grants

The FRLAEF Mini Grant application closed last month with over 180 submissions from ProStart and HTM schools. The FRLA Educational Foundation Board will meet to determine award amounts. Look out for an email from by October 16 that contains the amount you were awarded along with details on how to spend it.

Extreme ProStart Kitchen Makeover

The Extreme ProStart Kitchen Makeover application for Premier ProStart schools closed last month. The FRLAEF Board will award this grant.

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.