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February 18, 2013

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Cheesecake Factory foundation gift to send California ProStart Cup winners to national invitational

(SACRAMENTO, Feb. 18, 2013) – Contributions from The Cheesecake Factory Oscar and Evelyn Overton Charitable Foundation will ensure the winning culinary and management teams from the 2013 California ProStart Cup, presented by the California Restaurant Association Educational Foundation (CRAEF), will go on to compete in the 2013 National ProStart Invitational April 19-21 in Baltimore, Maryland. The state competition will be held March 17-18 at the Pasadena Convention Center.

Our foundation was established to honor the upstanding character and industry dedication of our founders, said Sherry O'Neill of The Cheesecake Factory Oscar and Evelyn Overton Charitable Foundation. “These principles are put into practice in California’s ProStart classrooms, where young leaders are being shaped.”

Both the state and national competitions are divided into two distinct events. Culinary students prepare a three-course meal using two butane burners, while management students will develop and present a business proposal for a new restaurant concept, including a supporting menu, a marketing plan and a detailed design.

“This generous gift makes it possible for California’s most outstanding youth to compete on a national stage, which is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” CRAEF Executive Director Alycia Harshfield said. “We are so grateful for the foundation’s support, and their time mentoring students in preparation for competition brings their contributions to life.”

First-, second- and third-place teams from both events also will qualify for scholarships to various culinary and hospitality post-secondary programs.

About the California Restaurant Association Educational Foundation: CRAEF has awarded more than $1 million in scholarships and grants since its inception in 1981. CRAEF works to enhance education and training programs within the hospitality industry. ProStart is a two-year program designed to prepare high school juniors and seniors for exciting careers in foodservice.

About The Cheesecake Factory Oscar and Evelyn Overton Charitable Foundation: Named for the company’s founders, the Oscar and Evelyn Overton Charitable Foundation exists to fulfill its mission through enhancing the wellbeing of its surrounding communities. The nonprofit was created not only as a means to raise funds for worthy causes, but also to unite the company’s caring and conscientious staff members in charitable causes. For more information, go online at

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