CA ProStart Cup presented by BJ’s Restaurants

More Than a Cooking Competition

The CA ProStart Cup is more than a cooking competition – it’s a life-changing experience! Imagine being 16 years old and pitching a new restaurant concept to a panel of restaurateurs. Or having hundreds of people watch you as you put the finishing touches on a three-course meal.

Leadership .  Public Speaking .  Courage . Mentorship . Life Experiences


Taco Bell Crashes the CA ProStart Cup!

March 20 + 21, 2020

Sheraton Fairplex Hotel & Conference Center

The Main Event 

The CA ProStart Cup is an electrifying event that puts high school culinary and hospitality management students to the ultimate test. Students from across the state can compete in three events: the Culinary Cup (3-course meal in 60 minutes), the Management Cup (pitch a new restaurant concept), and the Innovation Cup (new robot, app or software to improve restaurants.

What’s at stake? More than $2.3 million in available scholarships and the chance to represent California at the National ProStart Invitational in Washington, D.C. The big event takes place March 20+21, 2020 in Pomona, CA.

2019 Sponsors

2019 Event Program 

2019 Recap

The 2019 Champs

The state’s top student chefs and entrepreneurs went head-to-head in the 16th annual CA ProStart Cup presented by BJ’s Restaurants on March 15+16 at the Sheraton Fairplex in Pomona, CA.

Innovation Cup

  1. San Dimas High School 
  2. San Diego High School 
  3. John A. Rowland High School (Rowland Heights)

Culinary Cup

  1. Madison High School (San Diego)
  2. Pacifica High School (Oxnard)
  3. San Dimas High School 

Management Cup

  1. Orange County School of the Arts (Santa Ana)
  2. Bonita High School (La Verne)
  3. Leuzinger High School (Lawndale)

The competition was fierce as students competed for major scholarships. Taco Bell and BJ’s Restaurants will send the winners on the cross-country trip to represent California and compete at the National ProStart Invitational in Washington, D.C. in May.

Winning Menu

Madison High School took home the gold for their menu of dungeness crab gribiche salad, trout en crepinette, and blood orange mascarpone bavarian. Fun Fact: their team mentor, Chef Andrew Reyes, competed in the 2005 National ProStart Invitational!

Winning Restaurant

Students from OCSA wowed judges with their pitch for a new restaurant “Nostal-Jerk” (nostalgia + soda jerk). It’s a classic soda fountain in modern times. Their tagline: “Established in 1929 + 90 Years!”

Winning Innovation

Student from San Dimas High School developed Star Box, a mix between mobile ordering and drive thru. The insulated and refrigerated boxes hold mobile orders at the drive thru. Customers simply unlock the box with a QR code.

Event Highlights

• 4 alumni made a surprise appearance during Saturday’s Awards Reception to thank Rob DeLiema, president of BJ’s Restaurants Foundation for life-chaning scholarships
• Keynote speaker Penny Davidi, celebrity chef
• College + Career Expo with 35 exhibitors
• 2019 California ProStart Educator of the Year Brian Murphy from San Diego High School