Have you ever wondered what restaurants in the future might look like? Will they feature menus that scientifically boost your mood or be retrofitted into solar-powered food trucks?
Those are just a couple of the ideas some next-generation chefs came up with at last year’s ProStart Invitational, according to a new National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation report produced in partnership with technology solutions company Oracle Food and Beverage.
The report offers a look inside the competition, which highlighted the talents of U.S. high-school students on 92 teams, who competed for educational scholarships and industry recognition. The students, who are enrolled in the NRAEF’s ProStart program, showcased their skills by creating a variety of cutting-edge menus and restaurant concepts. The Invitational is held annually, in the spring. Last year’s competition was in Providence, R.I. This year, it is May 8-10, in Washington, D.C.
Rob Gifford, the NRAEF’s executive vice president, said the Foundation is proud to partner with Oracle Food and Beverage on the report, and that the project “showcases not only how much students learn from ProStart, but also how the next generation of leaders are incredibly forward-thinking.”
Chris Adams, Oracle’s vice president of food and beverage strategy, said the goal of the report is to capture the next generation’s insights on industry innovation, efficiency and technology.
“The talent shown by these ProStart students is unbelievable,” he said. “They truly are the future of the restaurant industry and we, as industry professionals, should be paying attention to them.”
Some of the students’ most innovative ideas included:
- The aforementioned solar-powered food trucks, fast-casual concepts with a twist, and menus that are scientifically proven to alter your mood
- Restaurant design software that allows for managed workflow, open demonstration kitchens, rooftop gardens and in-house butcheries
- Menus showcasing sustainably-sourced items and exotic ingredients and spices
- An increase in proteins such as rabbit, quail, bison and duck, as well as root vegetables like beets, and butternut squash and sweet potatoes
ProStart, a national program, is offered at high schools and technical schools throughout the United States, District of Columbia, the Territory of Guam and Department of Defense Education Activity schools in Europe and the Pacific. It is a two-year course of study and features hands-on training in basic culinary and management skills.
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