Mississippi school gets help from Rachel Ray to boost culinary program

Published 10:08 pm Thursday, June 15, 2023

Forty high schools from 24 states will receive $5,000 grants from the Rachael Ray Foundation to build up their National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation ProStart culinary arts and restaurant management programs. Since creating these awards, the Rachael Ray Foundation has provided 113 high school grants, totaling $950,000.

In Mississippi, Ocean Springs High School is a recipient for this year.

The grants from the Rachael Ray Foundation ProStart Grow Grant Program will help educators build the tools to teach their students career-building skills using the ProStart curriculum. The schools can use their Grow Grant funds to make classroom upgrades or purchase new equipment and resources. The NRAEF expects that the grants will benefit more than 3,500 students and 53 educators in the 2023-2024 school year.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“The daily investment that ProStart educators make in their classroom as they teach and mentor the next generation of culinary and restaurant management leaders is extraordinary,” said Rachael Ray. “We are optimistic that these grants will give teachers some fresh opportunities to capture the imagination of their students and teach them why our industry is a place where they can build a career.”

This is the fourth round of ProStart Grow Grants awarded by the Rachael Ray Foundation. Past grant recipients have used their funds to purchase needed supplies and new curriculum components, upgrade their class kitchens, and provide students with hands-on educational experiences.

“Rachael Ray Foundation ProStart Grow Grants make a huge difference to so many of our ProStart classrooms – funding equipment, supplies, and unique experiences to teach students the fundamentals of culinary arts and restaurant management,” said Rob Gifford, president of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. “We are grateful for the partnership of the Rachael Ray Foundation in helping ProStart educators provide the best classroom possible for each of their students.”

Nearly 165,000 high school students at 1,850 schools are currently part of ProStart, which features hands-on and traditional instruction providing students real-life foodservice experience and skills. The ProStart curriculum combines culinary arts and business education with special industry speakers, class mentors, tours of local culinary facilities, and student competitions to help students learn fundamental skills in the restaurant and hospitality industry. ProStart students emerge with training and certifications to join the restaurant and foodservice workforce.