You are here


February 26, 2024


Contact: Keiristin Wilbert


Ballou High School and Roosevelt High School participating for the chance
to represent the District in national competition 

WASHINGTON, DC (FEBRUARY 26, 2024) — Students from Ballou High School and Roosevelt High School will show off their mastery of culinary and management skills at the third Washington, DC ProStart Student Invitational, to be held at THEARC East Building on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. This competition premiered two years ago and is now taking a foothold as an official annual event that prepares ProStart students to take a prominent role in the food landscape of Washington, DC. 

Again this year, the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) will reward each member of the winning team with a $2,000 scholarship. Second place team members will each receive a $1,500 scholarship.

ProStart, administered by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF), and implanted in DC by Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington and DC Public Schools, is a nationwide culinary and management program for high school students that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice industry leaders. The program is a key part of fostering workforce development for the region’s foodservice industry and provides scholarship opportunities and career pathways for both DC youth and adults in continuing education. 

The event is made possible by Educated Eats, Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington’s Education Foundation. 

For the Management Competition, students will demonstrate their knowledge of the restaurant and food service industry by developing a new restaurant concept and presenting to a panel of judges

For the Culinary Competition, students will prepare a three-course meal while being judged on teamwork, cooking procedures, taste, and sanitation. 

The schedule will be as follows: 

  • Management Competition 9:15 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.
  • Culinary Competition: 12:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. 
  • Awards Ceremony: 4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

The winning teams will move on to compete in the Annual National ProStart Invitational at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront on April 26 - 28, 2024. 

“It’s important to invest in our industry's workforce pipelines.  We want to ensure that our residents have jobs, that our youth are aware of the long-term career path and opportunities available to them, and to support the restaurants which employ more than 60,000 people just right here in DC.” said Shawn Townsend, President and CEO of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. 

“The DC ProStart cooking competition is always an exciting event providing students an opportunity to display their culinary talents in front of a host of judges made up of the DC region's chefs and restaurant industry professionals. The ProStart program has the ability to become a launching point for highschool students, developing their passion in all parts of the hospitality industry, to become vital parts of a great restaurant community.”said Scott Attman, Educated Eats Chairman and Vice President and Acme Paper & Supply Co, Inc.

The Washington, DC ProStart Student Invitational is sponsored by The Richard E. & Nancy P. Marriott Foundation, Ecolab, National Restaurant Association Education Foundation, LINK Strategic Partners, and DC Central Kitchen. 

Visit to learn more about the ProStart program, the NRAEF and its impact. 


About Educated Eats 

Founded in 2004, Educated Eats (501(c)3) advocates for the value of employment through the restaurant and foodservice industry and is committed to creating the next generation of culinary professionals. 

Through Educated Eats, RAMW helps public school districts and local community colleges design and implement culinary education programs, provides scholarships to promising culinary students and seeks new partnerships outside of the public school system, in an effort to serve more challenged populations.

Educated Eats scholarships are designed to assist individuals who demonstrate an interest in and commitment to the restaurant industry. Scholarships are provided to both high school students pursuing a course of undergraduate culinary study, as well as to those already active in the restaurant industry who are interested in opportunities to return to school to refresh and deepen their skill set.  

Past Educated Eats scholarship recipients have gone on to graduate at the top of their classes at some of the nation’s finest culinary schools, like the Culinary Institute of America and Johnson & Wales. 

About NRAEF 

As the philanthropic foundation of the National Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s 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 program include: 

  • ProStart® – a high-school career and technical education program; 
  • Restaurant Ready – partnering with community-based organizations to provide opportunity youth and previously incarcerated individuals 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; and, the
  • Hospitality Sector Registered Apprenticeship project – a partnership with the American Hotel & Lodging Association providing a hospitality apprenticeship program for the industry.
Related Issues & Advocacy Categories:
Washington DC