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Culinary Competition is preparing Texas high schoolers for the future

The ProStart Competition brings students all across the state to gear up towards the future
Posted at 8:09 AM, Mar 11, 2024

WACO, Texas — The 2024 ProStart competition has over 500 high school students from Texas for a state-wide competition that prepares them for a future in the culinary and hospitality world.

SEE MORE: Students win over $1M at Texas Prostart Invitational culinary competitions


For high school students thinking about a career in the culinary or hospitality world...

“There’s about 500 students here across Texas,” President and CEO of the Texas Resturaunt Association, Emily Williams-Knight, said.

The ProStart Invitational amps up that passion, with individual and team competitions, with scholarships available to ignite that passion further.

“Just under $1.5 million dollars in scholarship money will be up for grabs. The stakes are high, but more importantly, they’re learning so much about themselves and reinforcing why they should be part of our industry,” Williams-Knight said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the U.S. Economy to add over eight million jobs by 2030, nearly two million of those to be in leisure and hospitality.

“We have about 1.4 million employees now, we’re now the largest employer in the state of Texas, so we need these young people to come compete against the best of the best in the state, reinforce that this is a place that they can build a career and be amongst the industry itself,” Williams-Knight said.

Getting live education and experience in different sectors of the culinary world.

“We learn a lot in the culinary industry, it’s a great way to get a job, it’s a great way to get your certifications, and it’s just a lot of fun in general,” sophomore competitor Hallie Riggen said.

“They just really encouraged me every step of the way to just get better,” sophomore competitor Kaden Walker said.

Having the opportunity to showcase promise and potential in a unique arena.

“Our kids work just as hard as the football team, basketball team, all those other teams, and so this is their outlet, this is their culinary Olympics,” culinary instructor David Roberson said.

High stakes for one of the largest industries across the globe. 

“Come watch these kids you’ll be truly inspired,” Williams- Knight said.