The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) announced the winners of its 12th annual National ProStart Invitational, which took place in Baltimore over the weekend. More than 350 top ProStart students from 43 states, territories and Department of Defense bases, competed for their share of $1.4 million in scholarships by demonstrating their mastery of restaurant leadership skills — culinary and management — in the competition.

Simon Sanchez High School from Guam and Badger High School from Wisconsin were crowned winners in the culinary and management competitions, respectively. All of the teams at the National ProStart Invitational had earned spots to compete by winning their state competitions. NRAEF awarded scholarships to students from the top 10 winning teams.

"Seeing hundreds of students apply what they've learned during their two-year ProStart program not only is an inspiring experience, but also confirms our belief that there is a bright future ahead for the restaurant industry with this young talent at the helm," said Denise Marie Fugo, chairman of the NRAEF. "We're honored to recognize this year's winners for their accomplishments and to give them the opportunity to showcase their skills and passion at the national level."

In the culinary competition, teams prepared a starter, entree and dessert within 60 minutes using only two butane burners and were judged on categories including taste, knife skills, safety, sanitation and teamwork. The team from Simon Sanchez High School in Guam took home first place in the culinary competition. Technology Center of DuPage in Illinois earned second place, and Howard High School of Maryland came in third place.

In the management competition, teams developed an original restaurant concept and applied critical thinking skills to challenges restaurant managers face in day-to-day operations. Badger High School in Wisconsin took top honors above second place Sauk Rapids-Rice High School of Minnesota. The team from Bergen County Academies in New Jersey won third place.

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