BRG Hospitality Management Competition, March 29 Blue Runner Culinary Competition, March 30
Metairie, LA--The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF) is pleased to announce the return of its annual Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers Louisiana ProStart® Invitational, March 29-30, 2022, at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in Hall G. ProStart is a national, two-year culinary arts and restaurant management curriculum for high school students that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant industry leaders.
“Supporting education is a key component of our active community involvement and the ProStart program is a great way for us to do that, as well as help shape the future of our industry,” said Todd Graves, CEO, Fry Cook and Cashier of Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. “We continue to support this competition because ProStart students learn skills - such as teamwork, communication, and decision making - that are important to success in any career they choose. Plus, as a growing company, it’s a great way for us to introduce the students to the opportunities at Raising Cane’s.”
The Invitational will showcase the culinary and academic talents of high school junior and senior ProStart students from 13 high schools across Louisiana. The invitational features two primary components: the BRG Hospitality Management Competition and Blue Runner Culinary Competition. The Opening Ceremony begins Tuesday, March 29 from 9 – 9:20 a.m. in Hall G.
During the BRG HospitalityManagement Competition, Tuesday, March 29 from 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m., teams will demonstrate their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by developing their own restaurant concept, including the menu, design, budget and marketing strategies which they present to a panel of judges similar to how an entrepreneur would pitch to a group of investors.
“We are excited to sponsor the LRA Education Foundation in this way,” said Octavio Mantilla, Co-owner of BRG Hospitality and LRAEF Director. “The exposure the ProStart program and this competition provides young people as they are considering career options is extremely valuable to our company, and the industry as a whole."
Teams participating in the Blue Runner Culinary Competition, Wednesday, March 30 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. will demonstrate their creative teamwork and communication abilities through the preparation of a three-course, restaurant-quality meal in 60 minutes, using only two butane burners, and without access to running water or electricity. The culinary teams are evaluated on taste, skill, teamwork, safety and sanitation.
“Blue Runner has a long history of serving the best of Louisiana’s culinary staples in homes and restaurants,” said Richard Thomas, President of Blue Runner Foods. “Partnering with the LRAEF allows us to illustrate our commitment to the next generation of chefs and restaurateurs, especially those participating in the Louisiana ProStart program.”
The Closing Awards Ceremony concludes the two-day event, Wednesday, March 30 at 2 p.m. in Hall G. The top three teams in each competition will share in over $450,000 in scholarships from Louisiana’s leading culinary and hospitality programs, and others throughout the nation. The top teams will represent Louisiana at the National ProStart Invitational, May 6-8, 2022 in Washington, D.C., and all expenses will be paid thanks to the National Team Travel Sponsor—TABASCO®.
“After a two year hiatus, we are thrilled for the return of the Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers Louisiana ProStart Invitational in 2022,” said LRAEF Executive Director Jonathan Baynham. “To see the talent, enthusiasm, and promise of these students is completely energizing for me and makes me feel very secure about the future of our industry.”
By uniting the classroom and the industry, ProStart gives students a platform to discover new interests and talents, and opens doors for fulfilling careers. Students who pursue the industry-based credential, the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) Certificate of Achievement, must complete a 400-hour internship, where they use their classroom skills in industry roles.
ProStart provides career pathways and a solid foundation for the varied career options offered in the restaurant and hospitality industry. The expansive possibilities are in multiple roles and disciplines in such a broad industry. Many LRA members serve as classroom mentors to ProStart students and provide work experience as well. Presenting sponsor Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers is one of many companies to use the program as a job recruitment tool for its growing franchise.
Special thanks to Freeman Decorating, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, Centerplate, PJ’s Coffee and Community Coffee for their generous donations.
The LRAEF also wishes to recognize the financial support of its Annual Partners: Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Auto-Chlor, Acme Oyster House, Ecolab, Louisiana Restaurant Association, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, BRG Hospitality, Blue Runner, TABASCO®, Atmos Energy, Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Fore!Kids Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., B&G Food Enterprises, Republic National Distributing Company, QED Hospitality, and NATCO Food Service.
The participating schools in each competition are:
BRG Hospitality MANAGEMENT Competition Academy of Our Lady Chalmette High School Hammond High Magnet School Istrouma High School Plaquemine High School Young Audiences Charter High School
BLUE RUNNER CULINARY COMPETITION Chalmette High School Hammond High Magnet School Istrouma High School Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy Pearl River High School Plaquemine High School Salmen High School Slidell High School Sulphur High School West Feliciana High School West Monroe High School
ProStart is a registered trademark of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. ProStart is a two-year, culinary arts and restaurant management program for high school juniors and seniors with a curriculum designed to teach students culinary techniques as well as restaurant management skills. ProStart is in 57 Louisiana high schools statewide and approximately 1,500 students participate in the program. ProStart in Louisiana is administered by the LRA Education Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the LRA. For more information about LRA Education Foundation, visit www.lraef.org.