May 12, 2022

Delaware and Texas take top honors at ProStart Invitational

Back for the first time in three years, the event recognized the talents of all competitors, and the educators who help them succeed.
NPSI 2022 Culinary Winners

This year's winning culinary team was from Caesar Rodney High School in Camden, Del.

Teams from Caesar Rodney High School in Camden, Del., and Ben Barber Innovation Academy in Mansfield, Texas, took home the top honors for culinary skills and restaurant management respectively at the 2022 National ProStart Invitational  in Washington, D.C.

The event, held May 6-8, was presented by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Back for the first time since 2019, it honored the culinary and management talents of 80 teams who competed for scholarship awards and prizes totaling more than $200,000.

More than 1,000 attendees were at this year’s Invitational, including nearly 400 ProStart participants and 68 judges. It was sponsored by Ecolab, Nestlé Professional, The Coca-Cola Co., and Golden Corral.

And the winners are…

Caesar Rodney won the culinary competition with a menu featuring the flavors of France, Italy, and Greece. Dishes included frisée salad with egg yolk ravioli, Mediterranean lamb loin, and a chocolate dome with balsamic raspberries.

The winning team from the management competition was from Ben Barber Innovation Academy in Mansfield, Texas.

Ben Barber won first place in the restaurant management competition for its “Herb’N Table” concept, which embodied a casual, contemporary farm-to-table experience.

“We were thrilled to bring the top culinary and restaurant management high school students together, in-person, for the first time in three years,” NRAEF President Rob Gifford said. “These students are the best-of-the-best, representing the industry’s talent of tomorrow. It was a pleasure to showcase their incredible skills on a national stage, where they could win scholarships to support their career goals. We congratulate each participant, and look forward to what they’ll go on to achieve.”

Honoring the ProStart teachers

NPSI also recognized several teachers with its ProStart National Educator of Excellence Awards. The awards, held annually and sponsored by Golden Corral, honor educators demonstrating excellence in the classroom and who effectively use the ProStart program to help students achieve opportunities in the hospitality industry. Ben Rengstorf, a ProStart teacher at Roosevelt High School in Minneapolis, was named the James H. Maynard Teacher of the Year. He received a $10,000 grant from the NRAEF for his efforts. 

Stephanie Kunkel of Jackson High School in Massillon, Ohio, won an Educator of Excellence award for Classroom Expertise, while Dominic Hawkes of Lancaster County School District Career Center in Lancaster, S.C., won for Best Practice/Knowledge Sharing, and Daniel Wagner of Greene County Career & Technology Center in Waynesburg, Pa., won for Industry Connection. The three category winners each received a $3,500 grant from the NRAEF for their work and dedication to ProStart students.

Here are the top five teams in each ProStart competition: 

  1. Caesar Rodney High School – Camden, Del. 
  2. Anderson Career and Technology Center – Williamston, S.C. 
  3. Herndon Career Center – Raytown, Mo. 
  4. Ben Barber Innovation Academy – Mansfield, Texas 
  5. Capital Area Technical Center – Augusta, Maine 

Restaurant Management

  1. Ben Barber Innovation Academy – Mansfield, Texas 
  2. Sauk Rapids-Rice High School – Sauk Rapids, Minn. 
  3. Wilson Central High School – Lebanon, Tenn. 
  4. Wilbur Cross High School – New Haven, Conn. 
  5. Anderson Career and Technology Center – Williamston, S.C.