March 9, 2017 15th Annual California ProStart® Cup Competition Starts March 19th.

The 2017 California ProStart Cup will be the high energy California Restaurant Association Foundation Event of the year. ProStart® is a two-year high school curriculum for students interested in Restaurant and Hospitality Management and/or a Culinary Career. BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse is the title sponsor for the Management Cup and Johnny Rockets is the title sponsor for the Culinary Cup.

Natalie Tong, CRAF Southern California Program Manager

The California ProStart® program serves 9,000 students annually in 127 schools. Over 3,000 students are prepared for their 1st job each year. This year teams will be competing at the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel and Conference Center in Pomona, California. Natalie Tong the CRAF Southern California Programs Coordinator shared, “We will have 30 culinary teams and 16 management teams this year! Schools hailing from as far south as San Diego, all the way up to Shasta and Fortuna area.”

Erin Mascho, CRAF Director of Development

Erin Mascho, CRAF Director of Development, told me more about the California Cup competition. She said, “There will be 250 students in the competition and 50 industry experts as judges. Each team is comprised of students, a teacher instructor, industry volunteer, and of course many parents. The teams that finish 1st to 3rd for each cup will qualify for scholarships.”  Something new this year, Erin will be conducting industry tours during the CA ProStart competition. Event Information and RSVP to Erin for details.

Alycia Harshfield, CRAF Executive Director

CRAF Executive Director Alycia Harshfield said, “One in three Americans got their start in restaurants and CRAF has granted $1.75 million in scholarship since 1981.  The ProStart® Cup connects this vibrant and professional workforce and educators, with the restaurant industry that is always in need of career seeking employees. It’s really a win win relationship.”

CRAF Board Member Michael Hawkins, Managing Partner of the landmark Green Street Restaurant in Pasadena, has served as Chair of the California Restaurant Association and CRAF. Michael said, “80% of restaurant owners start in a restaurant entry-level position. ProStart® students work as a team, utilize critical thinking and learn valuable life skills in this competition. It provides a boost to their confidence when job seeking and prepares them to be professional foodservice team members.” Michael knows, he serves annually as a Management Judge for the CA ProStart Cup, chairs the CRAF Board Scholarship Committee and is a Lecturer at The Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona.

Wendy Armour, CRAF Northern California Program Manager

I asked Wendy Armour, Northern California Program Manager how people or companies could donate and Wendy directed me to the CRAF Donation Link. She said, “Attend the ProStart Cup to watch high school students achieving at the highest level – so different than what we typically see or read about our youth in the news. These are dedicated and great students working to get ahead in life and support themselves. We are so proud of their effort.” Wendy is a star and last fall celebrated her 2oth year with CRAF.

Time for the BIG Question – I asked CRA President and CEO Jot Condie if the CA ProStart Cup and program is important to the state, schools and students he said, “California is the 6th ranked economic market there is with more than $2.3 million available in scholarships and a chance to represent California at the National ProStart® Invitational #NPSI2017. This is the one event you don’t want to miss if you are interested in the restaurant or hospitality industry. Please come and see our California Students shine in sunny Pomona.” That really sums up an important Restaurant Industry Event for California and one that I will guarantee will be rocking!

Jot Condie, President and CEO

We’re happy to meet and talk with all restaurant industry brands, manufacturers, service providers about becoming involved with our CRAF Mission to support students, educators and the industry. Your brand may be featured on the Foodable Network or receive consulting assistance for a California Specific Go-to-Market strategy. Call me today 408-784-7371 so we can get you rocking in California.

Get a taste of the ProStart® students and educators in action by watching the 2014 CAProStart Cup.

Thanks to all CRAF CAProStart® Sponsors.

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