The Connecticut Hospitality Educational Foundation (CHEF) is the non-profit 501(c)3, philanthropic arm of the Connecticut Restaurant Association (CRA). Its mission is to enhance the restaurant industry’s service to the public by developing a well-educated, well-trained workforce. CHEF works to attract, develop and retain a career-oriented professional workforce for the restaurant industry through education for future restaurant industry professionals, workforce development opportunities and scholarships.
Education for the Future of the Restaurant Industry
CHEF’s cornerstone program, ProStart, is a two-year, nationwide program that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s restaurant and foodservice leaders. ProStart serves more than 1,800 Connecticut high school students each year through a curriculum designed by the National Restaurant Association by industry for industry. ProStart connects the future generation with our current workforce through mentorships and partnerships. The ProStart year culminates with the Connecticut ProStart Invitational each spring. The winning teams have the opportunity to compete in the National ProStart Invitational.
Workforce Development & Wellness
CHEF, in coordination with the CRA, supports workforce development opportunities including ServSafe Manager, ServSafe Alcohol, ServSafe Workplace and ServSuccess. Additionally, we work to create apprenticeships, offer professional development opportunities for our members and promote the restaurant industry as a viable career path. CHEF and the CRA will also working to offer health and wellness and educational opportunities for our members.
CHEF awards scholarships each year to students pursuing careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry. In 2019, the fund was renamed to honor the late Joe DaCosta, who was a member of the CRA and a member of the Board of Directors. The Joe DaCosta Memorial Scholarship Fund honors Joe’s passion of giving back to future leaders of our industry. CHEF also has the opportunity to award the Frederick A . DeLuca Scholarship annually to a student pursuing a career in the restaurant industry.