$1.4 Million in Scholarships Awarded to Florida High School Students Participating in ProStart Culinary Team Competition

(Orlando, Fla.) The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Educational Foundation (FRLAEF) announced the winners of the 16th Annual ProStart Culinary Team Competition which was held Friday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6, 2016 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando.

A total of 49 schools participated in the competition with 13 schools winning top awards throughout the day’s events. More than $1.4 million in scholarships was distributed to the winning schools. All winners and participants are a part of Florida’s ProStart program which is a career technical education program where high school students learn from an industry-derived curriculum that teaches culinary techniques and restaurant management skills.  More than 20,000 students from across the state are enrolled in the program. The four main event competitions included: the Cracker Barrel Management Competition, the Johnson & Wales University Culinary Competition, the Keiser University Edible Centerpiece Competition, and the Coca-Cola Company Waiters Relay Competition.

Gainesville’s Eastside High School won first place in the overall competition. East Ridge High School in Clermont took home second place in the overall competition, with J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs placing third.  For photos of the event, please click here.

“These students absolutely represent the future of Florida’s hospitality industry and we are proud to help support their education by awarding more than $1 million in scholarships. We are passionate about investing in the lives of these student all-stars and are thrilled we get to watch them craft their incredible talents and build successful careers,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Overall Competition Winners

First Place Eastside High School Instructor: Billie DeNunzio
Second Place East Ridge High School Instructors: Lucressie McGriff and Ken Pitts
Third Place J.P. Taravella High School Instructor: Scott Goodman
Fourth Place Leto High School Instructor: Debra Hladky
Fifth Place Seabreeze High School Instructor: Samantha Crouch

 

Johnson & Wales University Culinary Competition Winners
Participating teams demonstrated their creative abilities during the competition through the preparation of a meal consisting of: starter (such as soup, salad or appetizer), protein (such as meat, fish or fowl), starch, vegetable, and dessert.

First Place Leto High School Instructor: Debra Hladky
Second Place Eastside High School Instructor: Billie DeNunzio and Pam Bedford
Third Place East Ridge High School Instructors: Lucressie McGriff and Ken Pitts
Fourth Place J.P. Taravella High School Instructor: Scott Goodman
Fifth Place Steinbrenner High School Instructors: Philip Meola and David Walesheck

 

Cracker Barrel Management Competition Winners
Participating teams demonstrated their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by developing a business proposal for a new restaurant concept. The business proposal consisted of a defined restaurant concept, supporting menu, and supporting marketing plan. Teams prepared a comprehensive written proposal, verbal presentation and visual display.

First Place Eastside High School Instructor: Billie DeNunzio and Pam Bedford
Second Place Deland High School Instructor: Renee Scarborough
Third Place East Ridge High School Instructors: Lucressie McGriff and Ken Pitts
Fourth Place Mainland High School Instructors: Jason Kester and Troy Logan
Fifth Place Northeast High School Instructors: John Beck and Curtis Serata

 

Keiser University Edible Centerpiece Competition Winners
Participating teams demonstrated their creative ability during the competition through the preparation of an edible centerpiece consisting of fruits and vegetables. Contestants explained nutritional information, product availability, and preparation techniques.

First Place Tarpon Springs High School Instructor: Cathleen Ryan, Vincenzo Pesce and Tony DeVincenzo
Second Place Eastside High School Instructor: Billie DeNunzio and Pam Bedford
Third Place Mainland High School Instructors: Jason Kester and Troy Logan
Fourth Place Seabreeze High School Instructor: Samantha Crouch
Fifth Place Northeast High School Instructor: John Beck and Curtis Serata

 

Coca-Cola Company Waiters Relay Competition Winners
Participating teams demonstrated their ability to duplicate a table setting while racing against the clock.

First Place J.P. Taravella High School Instructor: Scott Goodman
Second Place Seabreeze High School Instructor: Samantha Crouch
Third Place East Ridge High School Instructors: Lucressie McGriff and Ken Pitts
Fourth Place Bartow High School Instructor: Rosalind Chan
Fifth Place Stoneman Douglas High School Instructor: Ashley Kurth

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About FRLA Educational Foundation (FRLAEF)
The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association created the Educational Foundation in 1994. FRLAEF administers and executes two high school curriculums ‐ the National Restaurants Association’s (NRA) ProStart and the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AH&LA) Lodging Management Program – in more than 240 Florida high schools and provides resources to nearly 25,000 students in these culinary arts and hospitality management programs. Scholarships, Teacher Training Institutes, Industry Certifications, Equipment Mini‐Grants and Industry Internships are just a few of the products and services the FRLAEF provides to these classrooms. For more information, please go to https://www.frla.org/educational-foundation/.

 

About the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
FRLA is Florida’s premier non-profit hospitality industry trade association. Our mission is to ‘Protect, Educate and Promote’ Florida’s $82 billion hospitality industry which represents 23% of Florida’s economy and more than 1.1 million employees – making it the state’s number one industry. We offer regulatory compliance and food safety training needs (RCS and SafeStaff®); industry developed career-building high school programs (FRLAEF); sponsor the only event in Florida exclusively serving the restaurant and foodservice industry (FR&L Show, September 27-29, 2016 in Orlando); and we safeguard the needs of the hospitality industry by providing legislative advocacy. We represent and serve more than 10,000 independent and household name members, suppliers, and theme parks. For more information, go to www.FRLA.org and find us on Twitter @FRLAnews, Facebook and YouTube.