SPOKANE – Aspiring student chefs and restaurateurs from high schools across Washington will gather to slice, dice and plan their dream restaurants from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 10 at the Hotel RL Spokane, 303 W. North River Drive, to compete in the annual ProStart Invitational.

Winners earn scholarships and get to compete at the national level. They will be announced during an award ceremony between 6 and 8 p.m.

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Students have 60 minutes to create a three-course meal using butane burners: no electricity or running water.

ProStart is a two-year hospitality program offered at high schools nationwide. The career and technical education (CTE) program teaches culinary techniques and restaurant management skills to high-school students. In Washington, the program serves more than 1,500 students per year. After completing the program, students receive a certificate of achievement they can show to potential employers when they enter the labor force.

“ProStart is our window into the future leadership of our restaurant industry,” said Barbara Richardson, co-chair of the Spokane Chapter of the Washington Hospitality Association. “We get to see and connect with the upcoming talent. These students enter the workforce with culinary and management skills that help them climb the career ladder.”


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.


Eastern Washington competitors include Ferris, Lewis and Clark, Rogers, North Central, West Valley, Mead, Mt. Spokane and Walla Walla.

To offset costs associated with the competition, the Spokane Chapter donated $400 each to the seven Spokane high schools. Additionally, the chapter donated $500 for the ProStart mock competition.

Funds from both donations pay for practice food, office supplies, team uniforms, travel costs and any other expenses as determined by teachers at the seven schools.

To see photos highlighting last year’s competition, visit the Washington Hospitality Association Education Foundation site.




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.