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ProStart® Program

ProStart® is a national, two-year program for high school students that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s industry leaders. From culinary techniques to management skills, ProStart's industry-driven curriculum provides real-world educational opportunities and builds practical skills that will last a lifetime. ProStart® serves nearly 140,000 students nationally and reaches approximately 3,000 students in Illinois.

The curriculum is industry relevant, addresses necessary critical skills, meets Illinois State Board of Education learning standards, and offers nationally recognized certifications. The Illinois ProStart® Program goes beyond providing a curriculum in the classroom by connecting students to industry via field trips, classroom speakers, career camps and more. For more information for students and teachers, see below:

2020 ProStart® Invitational: 

On Saturday, March 7, 2020 the Illinois Restaurant Association Educational Foundation welcomed five culinary teams and four management teams comprised of high school ProStart students from across the state to compete in the 19th Annual Illinois ProStart® Invitational. This full day of Culinary and Restaurant Management competitions were hosted by Savor…Chicago and McCormick Place.

Woodruff Career and Technical Center took first place in the management division while Technology Center of DuPage earned first in the culinary division. Both teams received scholarships and prizes.

Over 40 industry professionals and representatives from post-secondary schools judged both competitions. Represented among these industry leaders are executive chefs, corporate chefs, chef instructors and hospitality professionals from a variety of industry sectors. 

The event, presented by Title Sponsor Sysco also included a College and Industry Expo featuring admissions representatives from post-secondary culinary programs, and industry job opportunities.


The top ranking teams included:

Culinary Competition

1st place: Technology Center of DuPage

2nd place: Rolling Meadows High School

3rd place: Woodruff Career & Technical Center


Management Competition

1st place: Woodruff Career & Technical Center

2nd place: Oswego High School

3rd place:Technology Center of DuPage


Congratulations to the top finishers and to all of the schools who competed this year. Well done students and teachers!

Please reach out to Kristen Hodges, Educational Foundation Director, at with any questions.


2020 1st Place Culinary: Technology Center of DuPage


2020 1st Place Management: Woodruff Career & Technical Center

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