Shark Tank & St. Phillip's College

March 21, 2018

Shark Tank meets Chopped at annual student competition State Finals


Texas’ top high school culinary arts & restaurant management students compete March 23 – 24 at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio


(Austin, TX) - A group of dedicated high school students throughout Texas are sharpening their knives and their restaurant management and culinary skills for the 2018 Texas ProStart State Final Competition. The event will take place on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24 at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, 1801 Martin Luther King Drive.

Twenty-four winning teams throughout Texas, from two previous preliminary competitions held in Dallas and Houston, (12 culinary and 12 restaurant management) will go head to head at the Texas ProStart State Invitational, produced by the Texas Restaurant Association Education Foundation (TRAEF). The competition will be open to the public on Saturday, March 24, from 7:45am to 3:00pm at $15 per person. Winners will be announced at an on-site ceremony following scoring tabulation (approximately 3:30pm).

“We couldn’t be more proud of the Texas ProStart program. I know that in Lubbock, as well as throughout the state, this program provides the foundation for so many students to pursue meaningful careers in the industry,” said David Cea, TRAEF chairman and co-owner of Orlando’s Italian Restaurant and CapRock Café in Lubbock. “Going through the competition process in particular inspires everyone involved – from the teachers, parents, school administrators and the larger restaurant community. The level of competency and talent we are seeing is extraordinary.”

The Texas ProStart Invitational is now in its ninth year. All competing schools are part of Texas ProStart, an innovative, industry-based culinary arts and restaurant management curriculum, spearheaded by TRAEF.

The largest ProStart competition in the country, more than 320 students compete in either restaurant management or culinary category in the two regional competitions (Dallas and Houston), with the top six teams from each category in each regional advancing to the State Invitational. The winning teams from State then advance to represent Texas at the National ProStart Invitational, which is being held in Providence, Rhode Island on April 27-29.

Students competing in the management teams must develop a concept for a new restaurant and present it to judges from industry and post-secondary education. Students are evaluated on their concept, marketing strategies, menu, recipes and food costs, operations and critical thinking skills.

The 2018 Texas ProStart Invitational is supported by TRAEF partners - Texas Beef Council (Exclusive), Ecolab (Diamond), Ben E. Keith (Platinum), Auto-Chlor (Gold), BJ’s Restaurants, Coca-Cola, Texas Mutual, United Healthcare, Les Dames d’Escoffier (Silver), El Centro College, Nicholls State University and BMI (Bronze).

For more information and a complete listing of teams, schools and judges, browse the Texas ProStart Invitational State program. To learn about volunteer opportunities, visit

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