SPOKANE, Wash.—Aspiring high-school chefs and restaurateurs assembled in Spokane, Wash., March 10 to slice and dice their way to culinary glory, scholarships and a chance to compete in the national ProStart competition in Providence, RI, next month.

ProStart is a nationwide, two-year high school program that unites the classroom and industry to develop the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice leaders. In Washington state, the program serves more than 1,500 students per year. After completing the program, students receive a certificate of achievement they can present to potential employers when they enter the labor force.

[expander_maker id=”1″ more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]

Through the ProStart program, high school students learn about the culinary arts: flavor profiles, presentation, storage practices, nutrition, business math and the importance of workplace and food safety.

“ProStart students can provide a solution for the labor shortage many restauranteurs are experiencing as unemployment remains below 4% in King County,” said Bob Cramer, restaurant owner and board member of the Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation.

“These students work hard to hone their skills and learn about our industry,” Cramer said. “They come out of the program with experience that makes them not only immediately employable but also poised to climb the ranks in the hospitality industry.”

The winners at the Washington state competition are:



Newport High School (Bellevue, Wash.), first place

Kentlake High School (Kent, Wash.), second place

Bonney Lake High School (Bonney Lake, Wash.), third place



Newport High School, first place

Bonney Lake High School, second place

Ferris High School (Spokane, Wash.), third place

Educator of Excellence:

Kahale Ahina, Bonney Lake


Mentor of Excellence:

Dan Corekin, Bonney Lake

Student of Excellence:

Derek Tran, Rogers High School (Spokane, Wash.)


Newport High School won with a crispy soft-shell crab appetizer, a Takamori chicken and pork ramen main course, and a molten lava cake with black tea ice cream, brown butter, a sesame tuile and Brule oranges for dessert.

The school’s management program came up with a plan to open a ramen house.

To watch some of the students in action, click here.


About the Washington Hospitality Association

The Washington Hospitality Association is a member-based organization that works at the state and local levels to find proactive solutions to the challenging issues facing the industry and its workforce. It provides its members with programs, services and the information they need to deliver great local experiences, ensure the success of their employees and help their communities thrive. The Washington Hospitality Association became one of the state’s largest trade associations in 2016 when the Washington Restaurant Association and Washington Lodging Association joined forces in a combined association.

About Washington’s Hospitality Industry

Hospitality is the industry that serves. It represents the largest group of private employers in the state, and the jobs the industry provides are the backbone of the state’s economy. Local restaurants and hotels employ more than 280,000 Washingtonians and each year, the hospitality industry generates more than $1.1 billion in state sales and Business & Occupation taxes. The hospitality industry is key to the health of our state, the careers of our citizens and the vitality of our communities.