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High School Students from Across Texas Head to Waco for 2024 Texas ProStart Invitational

The next generation of exceptional restaurateurs from Texas compete for $1.5 million in scholarships 

(March 6, 2024) – Over 50 teams and 500 high school students from across Texas will compete at the 2024 Texas ProStart Invitational starting on Friday, March 8 at the Waco Convention Center. Texas ProStart is the leading culinary arts and hospitality management program in the state, preparing over 27,000 students a year for rewarding careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry. At the invitational, students will compete for $1.5 million in scholarships in various disciplines, including business plan creation and pitching, and the ability to prepare a delicious three-course meal.  

“The Texas Restaurant Association serves as the advocate and indispensable resource for the foodservice industry, and that includes building the workforce of tomorrow.” Emily Williams Knight, Ed.D, president and CEO of the Texas Restaurant Association, said. “Supporting these students as they build a rewarding restaurant career is one of the most rewarding projects we get to lead for the foodservice industry. We cannot wait to award $1.5 million in scholarships to deserving students who we know are ready to impress at this year’s Texas ProStart Invitational.” 

In addition to the marquee culinary and hospitality management team competitions, the event will offer individual student competitions, including the “Build a Better Burrito” contest, as well as knife skills, pastry decorating and table setting showcases.  

“The Texas ProStart Invitational offers culinary arts high school students essential access to industry leaders, education and practical experience but also serves as a pivotal platform for nurturing the next generation of restaurateurs,” Heather Pickett, foundation director of the Texas Restaurant Foundation said. “The impressive talent on display this weekend is a direct reflection of the investment made by the ProStart educators, parents and the Texas Restaurant Foundation into these students and this curriculum throughout the year. The innovation and creativity these student competitors showcase is a driving force in Texas’ position as a leader in the foodservice industry.” 

The Texas ProStart Invitational starts Friday, March 8 and goes through Sunday, March 10. Make It Movement founder and CEO, Roy Spence will keynote the final award ceremony on Sunday. The top teams and individuals will earn scholarships toward continued education and the chance to compete at the National ProStart Invitational in Baltimore, Maryland this April. To learn more about the event, 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.