Alumni Spotlight: Minh Le, B.S. ’99

Chef Minh Le graduated from Nicholls State University in 1999. Chef Le is the Executive Chef and Owner of Alumni Grill. Le says that he decided to transfer out of a dietetics program at another University into culinary at Nicholls because he was unhappy serving bland and boring food to his hospital patients. Le has won the LRA Bayou Chapter People’s Choice Award in 2014, 2016, and 2018. His restaurant also won the 2017 Daily Comet People’s Choice Award for Best Burger. 

Q: What is your current job like?
A: Business ownership is a tough and rewarding thing.  My role is anything and everything that comes up besides promoting the restaurant and developing a team that can execute my vision. My day consists of auditing financials, review and respond to emails, inspect the restaurant facility, repair and maintenance of facility and equipment if capable before the pros are called, handle most restaurant related issues relating to guests, staffing, and purchasing, training, assist with food preparation, cleaning, cut grass when needed, create and test new ideas for the menu, work with Burger of the Month sponsors each month on new burger concept to raise money for local non-profit school organization.

Q: What is your restaurant known for?
A: Alumni Wings, Lard of the Fries, Fresh Burgers, Signature Turkey Burger, Burger of the Month (BOM), King Cake Cheesecake, milk shakes, and all our menu items are prepared fresh in house including pickles, sauces and dressings.

Q: Does your restaurant do any specials or have any promotional days that future guests should know about?
A:
Monday: $5 Old School Burger and $5 Alumni Wings (dine in only)
Tuesday: Steak night (Smoked Prime Rib w/salad and side $18)
Wednesday: $2 beer all day, all domestic and craft
Monthly Burger of the Month (BOM)- 20% of all BOM sales goes to a sponsored local non-profit or school organization
Culinary Alumni Chapter Members receive 25% off their order for dine-in

Q: How important do you think that culinary school was to your success?
A: Attending culinary school was very crucial to my success because it gave me the confidence along with the education to pursue a career doing what I love, preparing a great food, even a burger.

Q: What did you learn at CJFCI that still impacts you today? What were some of the most impactful classes that you took?
A: The basic culinary preparation methods or foundations that I learned in all my classes are very important because I utilized the same techniques and methods to further my team’s knowledge.  The beginning classes were more crucial to me because they remain the building block of every dish I prepare to this day. Some of my favorite and most meaningful classes were Cajun Creole Cuisine, French Food Class, Wine Tasting, Baking, Garde Mange, Soups, Sauce and Stocks Class, Meat Fabrication, Ice Carving, and Bistro.

Q: What is some advice you would like to share with young culinarians?
A: Starting a business is scary and risky, but if you are passionate and love what you do, take the risk.