2023 Georgia ProStart State Invitational Winners Announced

Posted By: Sarah Thorson GRA News, Restaurant Industry News,


Nearly 400 students to contend for almost $200,000 in scholarships at the National ProStart Invitational May 2-4


ATLANTA (March 20, 2023) Seven Georgia high schools traveled to Atlanta on Friday, March 17, 2023, for a statewide competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts to win scholarships, top honors and more at the Georgia ProStart State Invitational. Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Berkmar High School and Maxwell High School of Technology took home top honors and will represent Georgia at the premier national high school culinary arts and restaurant management competition in Washington, D.C., on May 2-4. These schools will join over 80 teams from across the country to vie for top high school culinary and restaurant management honors as well as almost $200,000 in scholarships to support their future aspirations in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Additionally, chef James Bryant of Berkmar High School was named the Georgia ProStart Educator of Excellence for his demonstrated excellence in the classroom.


While at the 2023 National ProStart Invitational (NPSI) in Washington, D.C., the management team from Maxwell High School of Technology and the culinary team from Berkmar High School will join nearly 400 students to put their skills to the test in front of culinary and restaurant business leaders, family and friends. The three-day event will feature an opening ceremony, two days of powerful culinary and restaurant management competition and an awards dinner. The top five teams from the culinary and management competitions will earn coveted scholarships to continue their restaurant or foodservice education.


“The young people participating in our ProStart program are the future of our industry”, said Karen Bremer, GRA President + CEO. “I couldn’t be prouder to have Berkmar High School and Maxwell High School of Technology representing Georgia and competing at the national level in Washington D.C. The talent that these two teams have is genuinely inspiring, and I can’t wait to cheer them on.”


Supported by the Georgia Restaurant Association, ProStart is a high school program that gives students interested in foodservice and hospitality careers a head start by teaching culinary techniques and management skills through an industry-driven curriculum. Upon successful completion of the ProStart program, students receive an industry-recognized certificate, and employers get well-prepared, enthusiastic employees.


This exciting competition showcases the talents and classroom skills of ProStart students from high schools across the nation. Students must impress judges from leading industry corporations, colleges and universities with skills they’ve developed through ProStart. The NPSI is composed of two distinct competitions: management and culinary.


Management teams develop a proposal for the next promising restaurant concept and present it to a panel of industry judges. Their problem-solving skills are tested as they quickly solve challenges faced by managers daily. The culinary competition highlights each team’s creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course meal in 60 minutes, using only two butane burners and without access to running water or electricity. Students are evaluated on taste, skill, teamwork, safety and sanitation.


The top five teams from the culinary and management competitions are awarded generous educational scholarships to help further their careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry. In 2022, more than $200,000 in scholarships were awarded to winning students.


In addition to a week of intense contests among the nation’s top culinary students, NPSI also will announce the 2023 recipients of the ProStart Educator of Excellence Awards (EEA), which recognize exceptional ProStart educators in their classrooms. Each participating state restaurant association nominates its leading educator who has demonstrated a strong commitment to his or her students and the ProStart program. This year’s EEA winners will be announced, along with three honorees in the categories of Classroom Expertise, Best Practice and Knowledge Sharing and Industry Connections. Each category winner will receive $3,500 for their achievement. The National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) also will reveal the recipient of the James H. Maynard Teacher of the Year Award, recognizing one EEA winner for their tireless dedication to providing remarkable experiences to their ProStart students. This annual honoree receives a gift of $10,000.


For more information on the ProStart program, visit ChooseRestaurants.org/ProStart.


About ProStart®: ProStart, a nationwide, two-year high school career and technical education program uniting the classroom and restaurant industry, reaches nearly 150,000 students in more than 1,900 high schools throughout all states, Guam and Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe and the Pacific. ProStart gives students a platform to discover and develop new interests and talents while teaching employability skills like teamwork, professional behavior, time management and communication.


About the Georgia Restaurant Association: The Georgia Restaurant Association’s (GRA) mission is to serve as the voice for Georgia’s restaurants in Advocacy, Education and Awareness. The GRA is sanctioned by the National Restaurant Association (NRA) to operate Georgia’s only not-for-profit representing the state’s foodservice industry. From large chains to start-ups, the GRA helps make Georgia a better place for restaurants to do business and helps make restaurants better for Georgia. For more information, visit www.garestaurants.org.


About the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation: As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association (NRA), the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s (NRAEF) mission of service to the public is dedicated to enhancing the industry’s training and education, career development and community engagement efforts. The NRAEF and its programs work to Attract, Empower and Advance today’s and tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice workforce.


NRAEF programs include:

  • ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program
  • Restaurant Ready – partnering with community-based organizations to provide “opportunity youth” with skills training and job opportunities
  • Military – helping military servicemen and women transition their skills to restaurant and foodservice careers
  • Scholarships – financial assistance for students pursuing restaurant, foodservice and hospitality degrees
  • Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry


For more information on the NRAEF, visit ChooseRestaurants.org.