The New Jersey Restaurant Educational Foundation has teamed up with the National Restaurant Educational Foundation to bring the restaurant industry into the classroom. ProStart is a nationally recognized two-year program for high school students that educates and develops those students into future leaders of the restaurant and hospitality industry.

This comprehensive program not only teaches students culinary techniques, but it also teaches students important management skills. The program is designed to prepare students for the industry. By bringing real world experience to the classroom, the students are often hired by culinary leaders fresh out of high school.

This curriculum is also recognized by over 60 different culinary arts and hospitality management colleges and universities throughout the country including Culinary Institute of America and Johnson & Wales University.

Special thanks to our generous sponsors!

Corporate Gold Sponsor
Corporate Silver Sponsor

ProStart Competition

Each year, the New Jersey Restaurant Educational Foundation brings the ProStart program alive with a state-wide culinary and management competition. The competition gives students real-world experience and tests their skills and knowledge in not only the culinary arts, but also in restaurant management.

In 2016 the NJREF teamed up with nine different Colleges and Universities and gave out over $1.4 million in scholarships to the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth place teams!

The First Place teams will move on to the National Competition and represent the state of New Jersey! They will compete for scholarships and more importantly—bragging rights!

Certificate of Achievement

The National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (NRAEF) offers the National Certificate of Achievement to ProStart students who participate in the mentorship program. The National Certificate of Achievement helps students gain acceptance into colleges. It allows them a lead in scholarship opportunities, employment, and other benefits like waiver of course fees.

For more information concerning the Certificate of Achievement, or to download a list of all of the participating colleges, check out the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s website,


ProStart students have access to other scholarship opportunities through the New Jersey Restaurant Educational Foundation. Read more about our scholarships for further details.

Access to a Great Network

ProStart schools are directly in contact with the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association. This allows schools access to great opportunities and benefits that will help students build their futures.

  • Access to restaurateurs and guest speakers.
  • New Jersey ProStart Representative visitations to help students with everything ProStart and their resumes.
  • School has catering opportunities for NJRHA Events.
  • Free student and teacher access to the NJREF Annual Culinary Student Day Event.
  • Free student and teacher access to the NJRHA Annual Restaurant Operators Conference and Trade Show.
  • Eligible to participate in the New Jersey Annual State ProStart Competition.
  • Teachers are nominated annually for the NRAEF Educator Excellence Award and invited to attend the Annual National Restaurant Association Trade Show in Chicago, IL.


The ProStart program requires the Foundations of Restaurant Management and Culinary Arts curriculum. This curriculum is a set of two books and workbooks: level 1 and level 2.

The first year book begins with a history lesson and overview of the foodservice industry. “Keeping Food Safe,” “Stocks, Sauces, and Soups,” and “Management Essentials” are some of the chapters covered in the first year book.

Level two begins with nutrition and controlling food costs. Level one tackles basics in the restaurant industry while level two goes more ineptly of how to manage a restaurant.

See if it’s a good fit for your school! Contact us to request a copy of the Foundations books for your review!

For more information about the ProStart Program, or if you are interested in becoming a Sponsor for our ProStart Program, please contact Leslie Steele at or (609) 599-3316.

The NJREF is a non-profit 501c3 — all donations are tax deductible.