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Future Chefs and Aspiring Restaurateurs Turn Up the Heat at Texas ProStart Invitational

Hundreds of Texas high school students will cook, create, and compete for a bid to compete at the National ProStart Invitational in Washington, D.C.

WACO, TX (March 20, 2023) –
Talented high school students studying the business, art and preparation of food will compete during the 2023 Texas ProStart Invitational, presented by Raising Cane’s set for March 24-26, at the Waco Convention Center (100 Washington Ave.) in Waco, Texas. 

Beloved by participants and spectators alike, the annual competition showcases teams of aspiring young chefs, and future restaurateurs who are involved in ProStart, a two-year, industry-based high school culinary arts and restaurant management program. The curriculum for this national program is managed in Texas at more than 215 high schools by the Texas Restaurant Foundation (TRF), the nonprofit workforce development arm of the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA).

High school teams of 5 students will compete in one of two categories: culinary or management. At the 2023 Texas ProStart Invitational, 40 culinary teams and 12 management teams will compete, creating one of the largest qualifying events in the US. The top teams from each category will go on to compete at the National ProStart Invitational in Washington, D.C., set for May 2023.

“The level of excitement and dedication brought to the Texas ProStart Invitational by the participating high school students and their teachers is a shining example of how investment in CTE programs make an impact on the practical lives and future careers of the next generation, shares Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D., President & CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association and Foundation. “I won’t be surprised to see these students being future James Beard Award Chefs or Michelin Star restaurant owners.”

Culinary teams will prepare a three-course meal in 60 minutes with two butane burners and limited supplies. Judges will evaluate the students’ knife skills, teamwork, safety and sanitation, the taste of the food, and menu development, specifically regarding recipes and cost. 

Students on management teams will develop and present (Shark Tank-style) an original restaurant concept, including a menu, staffing, and marketing plans, then rely on critical thinking skills to address everyday challenges. 

A fast-paced display of creativity, advanced industry knowledge, and collaboration, the Texas ProStart competition is a must-attend weekend for all fans of food. The competition is open to the public.
The Texas ProStart Program is the largest in the country and has a long history of sending top competitors to the national competition. In 2022, Texas’ first-place culinary team and management team were both from Ben Barber Innovation Academy in Mansfield and took fourth place and the championship title respectively at the national competition. More than 25,000 students at more than 215 schools participate in ProStart programs throughout Texas every year. The invitational alone draws more than 250 high school students.


School Name - Culinary City
Alief Center for Advanced Careers Houston
Aldine High School Houston 
Allen High School Allen
AmTech Career Academy Team #1 Amarillo 
AmTech Career Academy Team #2 Amarillo
B.O. Davis High School  Houston 
Ben Barber Innovation Academy Mansfield
Buinger CTE Academy  Bedford
Cedar Park High School Cedar Park
Del Valle High School Del Valle
Dr. Gene Burton College & Career Academy Rockwall 
Dr. Kirk Lewis Career & Technical High School  Houston 
Frenship High School  Wolforth
Glenn High School Team #1 Leander 
Glenn High School Team #2 Leander 
Grapevine High School Grapevine
Guthrie Center Houston
John Horn High School Mesquite 
Lancaster High School  Lancaster
Mesquite High School Mesquite
Milby High School Houston
Miller Career & Tech Katy
North Mesquite High School Mesquite
North Shore High School Houston
Pasadena Memorial High School Pasadena
Poteet High School Mesquite
Rice Consolidated High School Altair 
Robert Turner College & Career High School Pearland
Royse City High School Royse City
Sam Rayburn High School Pasadena
South San Antonio High School San Antonio
Tyler CTE Team #1  Tyler
Tyler CTE Team #2 Tyler
Waller High School Waller
West Mesquite High School Mesquite
School Name - Management  City
Allen High School Allen
Ben Barber Innovation Academy Mansfield
Career & Technical Education at New Tech Odessa Odessa
Cedar Park High School Cedar Park
Frenship High School Wolfworth
Mesquite High School Mesquite
Robert Turner College and Career High School Pearland
Sam Rayburn High School Pasadena
South San Antonio High School San Antonio
Waller High School Waller
Lancaster High School Lancaster
North Shore High School Houston


Formed in 1937, the Texas Restaurant Association (TRA) serves as the advocate and indispensable resource for the foodservice industry in Texas. As a leading business association, the TRA represents the state’s $87 billion restaurant industry, which encompasses more than 53,000 locations and a workforce of over 1.3 million employees. Along with the Texas Restaurant Foundation, the workforce development arm of the TRA, the association proudly continues to protect, advance, and educate a growing industry as the TRA enters its 86th anniversary year. For more information, please visit

Established in 1994 by the Texas Restaurant Association, the Texas Restaurant Foundation (TRF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to building and maintaining a strong professional foodservice workforce in Texas. Leveraging the latest skills, tools, and certifications, the TRF creates pathways of opportunity for one of the state’s largest and most diverse industries. The organization’s flagship program is Texas ProStart, an industry-based, two-year high school culinary arts and restaurant management program that reaches more than 25,000 students across 215 high schools in Texas. The TRF also supports restaurants in times of crisis; for example, in 2020, the TRF established the TX Restaurant Relief Fund to raise and distribute more than $3.5 million to support over 800 independent restaurants and their employees through the COVID-19 pandemic.