The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF) will host its 13th Annual Louisiana Seafood ProStart® Student Competition, March 25-26, 2014 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Hall G. More than $1.2 million in scholarship opportunities will be awarded to students whose teams place in the top three in both the culinary and management competitions. The funds were donated from 10 of the leading post-secondary culinary and hospitality programs in the country, including Louisiana Culinary Institute, Nicholls State University John Folse Culinary Institute and University of New Orleans School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism, among others. The Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board is the competition’s title sponsor for the second consecutive year.
The competition showcases the culinary and academic talents of high school junior and senior ProStart students from 23 schools across Louisiana. The competition features two primary components: the Culinary Competition and the Management Competition.
During the Culinary Competition, Tuesday, March 25 from 10:45 a.m. – 5 p.m., teams will demonstrate their creative abilities through the preparation of a three-course, gourmet meal consisting of: a soup, salad or appetizer; a protein such as meat, fish or fowl, vegetable and starch; and a cold or flambé dessert. All teams’ menus must feature at least one type of Louisiana seafood. Twenty-four judges from the foodservice industry and post-secondary educational institutions will observe and rate their performance during the competition.
Teams participating in the Management Competition, Wednesday, March 26 from 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., will demonstrate their knowledge of the restaurant and foodservice industry by developing a restaurant proposal, delivering a verbal presentation and applying critical thinking skills to challenges managers face in day-to-day operations. Their performance will be observed and rated by 15 judges from leading colleges and universities and industry professionals.
The 2014 LRAEF ProStart Student Competition Sponsors include: Louisiana Seafood, Acme Oyster House, Auto-Chlor Services, Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, Performance Foodservice Caro, Atmos Energy, Louisiana Culinary Institute, Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, Raising Cane’s, Louisiana Gas Association, Whole Foods, Entergy, Chef Paul Prudhomme’s “Sea of Hope,” Centerplate, Coca-Cola, Community Coffee, Custom Apparel, Ecolab, Freeman Decorating, Generations Hall and the New Orleans Morial Convention Center.
ProStart is a two-year comprehensive culinary management course for juniors and seniors in high school with two primary outcomes: to prepare students for higher education and to train students to go directly to work in Louisiana’s foodservice industry. The LRAEF pairs ProStart students and LRA members together in a mutually-beneficial relationship. Students are required to complete a 400-hour work internship, thus providing hands-on training. Many of LRA members serve as mentors to ProStart students.