About Prostart


By bringing together the industry and the classroom, ProStart gives students a platform to discover new interests and talents to open doors for fulfilling careers in both culinary arts and restaurant management. It happens through a curriculum that includes all facets of the industry and sets a high standard of excellence for students and the industry.


Students who have completed the requirements of the ProStart program are awarded an industry-recognized certificate – the ProStart National Certificate of Achievement. To earn the certificate, students pass two national exams, demonstrate a mastery of foundational skills and work 400 mentored hours. Students who receive the certificate are eligible for NRAEF scholarship opportunities and course credits at more than 75 of the country’s leading hospitality and culinary arts colleges and universities.

The ProStart® National Certificate of Achievement (COA) is an industry-recognized certificate that signifies a strong foundation in the basic management and culinary skills considered critical to success by industry leaders.


Employers can be assured that a credentialed ProStart graduate possesses a wide range of knowledge and experience in the industry and aspires to build a successful career in hospitality. A student who has earned the COA has demonstrated a commitment to and knowledge of the industry, reducing turnover and training costs.


The ProStart National COA is your passport to the future.  Earning the COA can give you a leg up in your job search and opens the door to collegiate opportunities. These include scholarships, class credits and the opportunity to work with chef mentors in and out of the classroom. To learn more about the benefits offered to ProStart graduates at more than 60 colleges and universities, download the National ProStart Collegiate Passport.


The Foundations of Restaurant Management & Culinary Arts curriculum is exceptionally flexible to help educators implement an effective learning experience in today’s classroom environment.

The National Restaurant Association and Pearson have partnered to create the most comprehensive curriculum developed by industry and academic experts – Foundations of Restaurant Management & Culinary Arts. The curriculum includes:

Comprehensive student resources and robust educator materials provide an in-depth, industry-driven learning experience.

Each Level (1 and 2) features blended coverage of culinary arts and management topics designed to build well-rounded skills for the workplace.

Foundations of Restaurant Management & Culinary Arts is a complete curriculum, with resources for students and educators.

Resources include everything from print and electronic textbooks and a companion website for students to a teacher’s wraparound edition and lesson plans for educators.


While classroom experience is necessary to learn the foundational culinary and management skills, nothing beats real-life experience gained by working in the industry. ProStart® students learn how to be an industry professional through hands-on work under the direction of a mentor. Mentors help students make the connection between their present performance and their future career.


During mentored work experiences, ProStart students master the skills that industry experts identified as critical to success, such as:

  • Knife skills
  • Customer service
  • Cost control
  • Culinary techniques
  • Marketing

Students also learn the importance of arriving on time prepared for work, teamwork and accountability.


Future Stars in Action

The National ProStart Invitational® is the country’s premier secondary school competition focused on restaurant management and culinary arts. Annually, 350 student competitors put their skills to the test in front of industry leaders, NRAEF Trustees, state restaurant associations, and family and friends – all with hopes of earning a coveted scholarship from one of the nation’s premier culinary and restaurant management programs.


The National ProStart Invitational is the finale of a nationwide series of state competitions hosted by state restaurant associations. For each respective competition – culinary or management – students must impress judges from leading industry corporations, colleges, and universities with skills they’ve developed through ProStart. The Hawaii ProStart Program is still developing their state competition which is a feeder to the national competition. We are hoping to send students to the national competition as early as the 2019-20 school year.


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 2018, more than $1.4 million in scholarships was awarded to students by the NRAEF and leading academic institutions.


The National ProStart Invitational is composed of two distinct competitions – management and culinary – that showcase the most important skills needed on either side of the restaurant and foodservice industry.


Management teams develop a proposal for the next promising restaurant concept and present it to a panel of industry judges. Next, 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. There is no room for error as they are evaluated on taste, skill, teamwork, safety and sanitation.