Chef Christopher Price graduated from Nicholls State University in 2007. Price says that he was drawn to cooking at a young age. Being in the kitchen with his family and watching his grandfather as a successful food broker in New Orleans made him want to pursue his passion for culinary arts at Nicholls.
While in culinary school at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, Price had the opportunity to study abroad at Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France. Price also interned at the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York. After graduation, Price worked at Miller’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge, O’Donnels in Ponchatoula, and Nuvolari’s in Mandeville. During this time he had the opportunity to work with many astounding chefs such as Chef Robert Bruce who trained under Chef Paul Prudhomme.
Price is now the Sr. Risk Consultant Safety Advisor for DARDEN Restaurants which oversees 1600s restaurants around the world. Christopher is married to Mandy Price who received her BS in Biological Sciences from LSU and is the owner of Amanda Price Events.
Q: What is your current job like?
A: Darden owns some of the most recognizable and successful brands in full-service dining: Olive Garden®, LongHorn Steakhouse®, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen®, Yard House®, The Capital Grille®, Seasons 52®, Bahama Breeze® and Eddie V’s®. My role as the Sr. Risk Consultant Safety Advisor is to work alongside our clients to identify and develop training materials for potentially risky or hazardous situations.
Q: How important do you think that culinary school was to your success?
A: Culinary school pushed me to continue to learn and consistently expand my knowledge in food and restaurant operations. Culinary school also gave me a great foundation and appreciation for food and the fundamental basics of cooking and running a restaurant. I was hired on at Darden because I have the experience of working in restaurants and experience in safety that I would not have had if it wasn’t for my time at Nicholls.
Q: What was your favorite memory of studying at Institut Paul Bocuse in France?
A: While attending my second externship at the Institut Paul Bocuse I learned a lot of great cooking techniques and finesse from chef instructor, Luc Vinot who owns and operates Brunoise Restaurant in Lyon, France. I kept in contact with Chef Luc after my externship and he stated that he liked my sweet potato and smoked sausage bisque so much he put it on his menu at his restaurant. It was an incredible feeling knowing that an accomplished chef decided to duplicate my bisque that I made in class over the summer.
A: The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute taught me the importance of working as a team and collaborating with my fellow classmates. I learned to work alongside different personalities, egos and opinions that may be different from mine. Because of this, I learned to compromise and work through difficult situations. It really is an orchestrated dance in the kitchen where you need to have constant communication. It is all about having each other’s back when things get hairy or when you’re in the weeds.
Q: What was your favorite class that you took in culinary school?
A: Soups, stocks and sauces was my favorite class in culinary school. Chef Randy Cheramie who is a great instructor with an immense amount of knowledge made my time at Chef John Folse Culinary Institute phenomenal – I looked forward to going to his class every day.
Q: What is one piece of advice that you would like to share with other culinary students?
A: My chef mentor, Robert Bruce told me this Swindoll quote when I worked for him at Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse. To this day I live by this mantra no matter what the project is that I’m working on.
“The difference between something good and something great is attention to detail.” – Charles R. Swindoll
Q: What are some of your favorite culinary reading materials?
A: 3 Favorite Books that I USE and recommend for Culinary Students:
“Ratio” by Michael Ruhlman – The Simple Codes Behind The Craft of Everyday Cooking
“Math for the Professional Kitchen” – Culinary Institute of America
“Culinary Artistry” by Andrew Dornenburg