Alumni Spotlight: Blaine Guillot, A.S. ’99

Chef Blaine Guillot graduated from Nicholls State University in 1999. Chef Guillot is the Food Service Manager at St. Charles Parish Hospital for Ochsner Health Systems. Guillot says that he wanted to go to Nicholls so that he could learn more about the cooking traditions and cuisine of South Louisiana. He said that he wanted to be able to show people the importance of cajun and creole cuisine and preserving its history. Guillot was named one of the Best Chef’s of Louisiana by the ACF in 2012 and has catered events for a wide variety of clientele during his time at the Beau Rivage and Lindy Boggs Hospital. 

Q: What is your current job like?
A: I currently manage a staff of 18 and I am responsible for the cafeteria food, patient food and managing monthly budgets.

Q: What is your favorite project that you have worked on so far?
A: My favorite project I have worked on was remodeling and designing the hospital cafeteria in 2011.

Q: Where was your favorite internship when you were in school?
A: Learning from the chef at Les Jardin Du Lac in France was a really unique experience.

Q: How important do you think that culinary school was to your success?
A: CJFCI show me lots of things that I did not know and introduced me to people from around the world that I am still friends with today.

Q: What was the most impactful class that you took?
A: The most impactful class that I took with Bistro. Bistro really showed us how to run and operate a restaurant from the back of the house and the front of the house.

Q: What is some advice you would like to share with young culinarians?
A: Make sure you have a love for food because this is a demanding industry that takes a lot of dedication. Also, more students should know that you should work your way to the top and learn from all the other positions of the kitchen first.




River Parish Creole Tomato Salad
By: Chef Blaine Guillot

10 Fresh Creole Tomatoes
1lb Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
Fresh Basil

½ Cup Olive Oil
¼ Cup Balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
1 Shallot Minced
1 Clove Garlic Minced
¼ Steen’s Cane Syrup

Directions: Combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, Dijon Mustard, Cane Syrup, shallots, garlic, salt and pepper together in a glass jar with a lid.   Shake vigorously until thoroughly combined.

Place 3 slices of Fresh Creole Tomato with a slice of Fresh Mozzarella Cheese over each tomato and a slice of basil and drizzle with the dressing and enjoy.

Alumni Spotlight: Thomas Ridgley III, B.S. ’16

Chef Thomas Ridgley III graduated from Nicholls State University in 2016. Chef Ridgley is a chef at Francesca by Katie’s, a new deli and pizzeria that opened in New Orleans earlier this year. Ridgley says that he always knew he wanted to cook because he grew up in a family that gathered together just for the food. Ridgley has worked in restaurants throughout New Orleans such as Restaurant August and Mopho and was sent to study in Germany at Romantik Hotel Spielweg by his chef mentors who he attributes a lot of his success to. 

Q: What is your current job like?
A: Since I assisted with the opening of Francesca by Katie’s I have really been able to see how it has transformed from what it was to what it is now. Now that we are open I am in charge of creating recipes for many of the items that we make in house, my favorite thing being our pulled pork. Anyone that knows me knows how much I love the smoker!

Q: How important do you think that culinary school was to your success?
A: I can’t say enough how important culinary school was to my success. It taught me the techniques and teamwork that prepared me for some of the best kitchens.

Q: Who are your chef mentors?
A: Michael Gulotta, another Nicholls alumn, has been guiding me since I started my career the day after graduating high school. He gave me a job at August and has been helping me ever since. Also, Scott Craig, my current boss, has been a real guide in my career.

Q: What did you learn at CJFCI that still impacts you today?
A: One quote from Chef Randy has really stuck with me. “Why do we season both sides of the meat? Because we EAT both sides of the meat!” I also think that the skills I learned in Garde Manger, Advanced Service, and Regional Cuisine impact a lot of what I do now. Learning new flavor profiles and spices is fascinating to me.

Q: What is some advice you would like to share with young culinarians?
A: Remain humble. Even though you learn a lot in culinary school, there are a multitude of things that are still to be learned when you get out. No one knows everything. Write down everything you can including techniques, recipes, spices, and things you have never heard of. Learn from those things.




Fall 2018 Opening of The Bakery at CJFCI by Nicholas Lafont

Fall 2018 Opening of The Bakery at CJFCI 
By: Nicholas Lafont

Still relatively new to the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls is our retail baking class. Now in its 2nd semester, the bakery offers hot fresh pastries, breads and desserts on Wednesdays to eager students, teachers, and public patrons.

Angelle Hebert whips up a batch of lemon curd for Lemon Meringue Pies.

Chef Tammy Rink has implemented a program that allow students to put together a business plan including the concept, portfolio, and research that is required before opening a business of their own. Important factors like cost control, local competition, and supply chains are all analyzed by students thoroughly, building a foundation to independently form a concept in the future after graduation. The overall arching principle of the class is for the students to learn to open a bakery by studying menu design, restaurant layout, and how to properly manage a staff.

Jay David pipes out the beginning steps of our Bear Claw Danishes.

Very much like our Bistro Ruth class, students are thrust into the roll of bakery shop owner each week where each student is required to come up with a profitable menu that gets implemented each Wednesday for customers to purchase. This process personalizes the learning as each student attains control of the bakery that week to produce their own menu concepts. During this day, students can get direct experience learning the production side for running a bakery service, while seeing their personal menu come to fruition each week. The plus side for the customers is every menu each week is different. While the bakery will include a few staples that are popular with guests, you can expect new items each week as a set of new students take control of the bakery. Come help support our program this fall while enjoying some freshly baked goods straight from our kitchen. Located inside Ledet Hall at the intersection of Highway 1 and Bowie Road, The Bakery at CJFCI will be open throughout the fall on these following dates:

Chef Tammy Rink glazes on the finishing touches to our Raspberry Cream Cheese Snails.

Wednesday, October 10         11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 17         11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 24         11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 31         11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 14     11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 28     11 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.


Currently, we only accept cash or check. No visitor parking passes are needed. Patrons can park in the Bistro Ruth parking lot at the front of the building. For more information, please call 985-493-2700.


About the Author

Nicholas Lafont, a culinary student from Houma, Louisiana knew he wanted to attend Nicholls because it offered an affordable 4 year Bachelor’s degree program. He says this program allowed him the opportunity to work with great chefs while learning the business side of the industry. During his time at Nicholls he has worked at Restaurant August, Caribbean Room, and August National. After graduation he plans to work in fine dining with hopes to eventually pursue a masters degree in Food Studies and/or Public Policy. See more of his work by following him on instagram @njlafont.


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?
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.




Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Gaudet, B.S. ’05

Chef Ryan Gaudet graduated from Nicholls State University in 2005. Chef Gaudet is the Executive Chef for Spahr’s Seafood. The restaurant has three locations in Thibodaux, Des Allemands and Galliano. Gaudet says that he got his love of cooking from watching his grandmother cook for her friends. At the age of 15 his parents told him that he needed a job to have a car so he got a job in a restaurant – fell in love with the industry and the rest is history. Gaudet has been a 3 time contestant at the Louisiana Seafood Cookoff and was the People’s Choice award winner for the 2015 LRA Culinary Showcase. 

Q: What is your current job like?
A: I oversee all culinary operations of the Spahrs’ restaurants. This includes recipe creations, menu engineering and development, specials, vendor relations, kitchen training systems. I’m also a board member for Spahrs so I get to provide input and feedback on the direction of the company.

Q: What is your restaurant known for?
A: Cajun/Creole cuisine, Great Southern Hospitality and Service, Catfish Chips, Bloody Mary’s, and Seafood Gumbo. 

Q: Does your restaurant do any specials or have any promotional days that future guests should know about?
A: Weekend specials at all locations, 2-4-1 drinks in Thibodaux and Galliano every Tuesday, All you can eat catfish in Thibodaux and Galliano on Wednesday, 2-4-1 appetizers in Thibodaux on Thursday evenings, steak night in Galliano on Thursday, Brunch in Thibodaux and Galliano on Sundays. 

Q: What is your favorite event that you have been a part of?
A: My favorite event that we participate in is the white boot gala (which is coming up next week –Sept 12). Its a fundraiser for BTNEP where I get to showcase some creativity in the food. Louisiana is the focus for my menus with the white boot gala- I try to showcase everything She gives us and how amazingly versatile our state’s bounties are.

Q: How important do you think that culinary school was to your success?
A: Culinary School gave me a great foundation to take out into the real world. When I think of my time in culinary school, I’m reminded of the friendships I’ve made, and the professionalism I gained from working on a Bachelors degree from Nicholls State University.

Q: What did you learn at CJFCI that still impacts you today? What were some of the most impactful classes that you took?
A: There are two major things that stuck out to me that I still think about to this day. During Chef Folse’s class, he gave us the definition of a COOK-” a cook is someone who manages heat” for some reason that statement stuck in my head. Also, there was a culinary display case in Gouaux Hall with a comic strip- I don’t remember the whole comic strip but there was quote, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”

Q: What is some advice you would like to share with young culinarians?
A: Go to a big city like Chicago, New York, San Fran, or even New Orleans- and get your butt kicked-find a chef in one of these big cities that is aligned with the same values you have and soak up as much as you can. Never stop learning and always be humble enough to wash dishes or work the pantry station. 



Chef Ryan Gaudet’s recipe for
Fried Green Tomatoes

1 Green tomato
1 cup white flour
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg
2 cups Milk
peanut or vegetable oil for frying
8oz blue crab meat, claw; picked for shells
¼ cup green onions, sliced thin
2 cups mixed greens

Remoulade Dressing:
¾ cup 1000 island
1 TBS creole mustard
2 TBS Worchestershire
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 TBS sweet relish
1 TBS dill relish

Steen’s cane reduction
½ cup steen’s cane syrup
1 cup pinot grigio white wine
2oz soy sauce
4oz fresh squeezed lime juice


  1. Make the remoulade and cane reduction sauce’s first. These sauces can last a few days up to a week in the fridge. The cane reduction sauce is great on Pork also.
  2. To make the remoulade, mix all ingredients in a bowl with a whisk, then refrigerate.
  3. To make the cane reduction, mix all ingredients in a bowl, then pour in a wide skillet. Heat to a simmer and simmer for about 25-30 mins on low. The sauce is done when it coats the back of a spoon. Allow to stand at room temperature.
  4. Heat the oil to 350.
  5. Slice the green tomatoes about ¼ inch thick. Make a wash with the egg and milk. Dip in the white flour, then the wash, then the panko bread crumbs. Make sure each slice is well coated.
  6. Fry the tomatoes for a bout 2-3 minutes total. They should be nice and golden brown. Transfer to paper towel lined plate when done.
  7. In small bowl, toss the crabmeat with the remoulade.
  8. Place some greens on a serving plate, and top with the fried green tomatoes. Soon some of the crabmeat on top of the tomatoes, drizzle the cane reduction over the entire plate. Garnish with green onions.


Alumni Spotlight: Molly Iles-Guillory, B.S. ’14

Chef Molly Iles-Guillory graduated from Nicholls State University in 2014. Iles-Guillory says that she knew she loved to cook and that she wanted to be a chef, but was unsure of how to get her foot in the door to start her career. Since graduating from culinary school, Molly has worked at the Orleans Club and New Orleans School of Cooking. 

Q: What is your current job like?
A: At New Orleans School of Cooking I am a Chef Instructor for the Hands-On Demos. These are recreational cooking classes where the students cook a four course Cajun/Creole meal as I walk them through the recipes step by step. As the Chef Instructor, my job is to teach my students, the majority of which are tourists, about the history of New Orleans and Louisiana, the difference between Cajun and Creole, and about our foodways and how they’re reflected in our recipes.

Q: What interested you in culinary education?
A: I never knew how exotic and exciting our food in Louisiana is to others until I began to teach, so I am thrilled to get to teach people from all over the world how to make gumbo.

Q: What is your favorite project that you have worked on so far?
A: Last summer I taught a BBQ Shrimp demo for the MTV dating show “Are You the One”. The couples were more interested in each other than in the cooking lesson, but the production team told me after filming that they learned a lot!

Q: How important do you think that culinary school was to your success?
A: If it wasn’t for CJFCI I don’t believe that I would be at New Orleans School of Cooking. Not only did CJFCI give me a foot in the door in New Orleans, but it also gave me the education and experience to teach others.

Q: What did you learn at CJFCI that still impacts you today?
A: I took something away from each class that I took at CJFCI to one degree or another. The beginning block classes gave me a deep understanding of the techniques and formulas to be able to teach others without having to depend on a recipe. Through Advanced Service Management I learned a way to understand every aspect of the customer service experience, which has helped me immensely in the tourism aspect of my job. It also helped me to understand that we aren’t just selling food, we are providing memories and experiences.

Q: What advice would you like to share with young culinarians?
A: Don’t stop learning! Keep cooking new things, be open to new experiences, and be willing to learn something new from someone unexpected.


The perfect 4th of July menu from our CJFCI Instructors

The perfect 4th of July menu from our CJFCI Instructors!

When most people think about celebrating American Independence Day they probably think about a day by the pool with lots of good food. We at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute wanted to give people some fool proof holiday recipes that will make this 4th of July cookout a breeze.

Chef Marshall’s Barbecue Ribs
Recipe by: Chef Marshall Welsh (read more about Chef Marshall here.)

2 racks of Pork back ribs
1 brine recipe- follows
Your favorite barbecue sauce
Rub recipe- follows
Hickory chips

Rub Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
*optional 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Method: Mix I tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, one tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon salt, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, and 1 tablespoon dried thyme.  If you like it hot add 1-2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper.

Brine Ingredients:
1 gallon of water
1 cinnamon stick
6-8 allspice berries, whole
6 cloves
2 bay leaves
1 cup Salt
2 cups brown sugar
1 gallon of ice

Method: First make the brine by boiling 1 gallon of water with the following ingredients:  1 cinnamon stick, 6-8 allspice berries whole, 6 cloves, 2 bay leaves, 1 cup salt, and 2 cups brown sugar.  Boil for ten minutes; remove from heat and add 1 gallon of ice.  Stir and chill.

Remove the membrane from the inside bone portion of the ribs and place both sets of ribs into the chilled brine for 6 hours.  After six hours remove from the brine and pat dry.  Allow to chill in the refrigerator uncovered for 2-3 hours.  Then apply rub by sprinkling moderately with the rub and pressing to the meat.

Create an indirect fire in your grill or use a smoker.  Soak the hickory chips at least 30 minutes and toss over hot coals in the grill.  Place the meat on the opposite side of the heat to avoid burning and maximum smoke penetration.  Try to hold 210°F for 4 hours.  With 15 minutes left lacquer the ribs with your favorite barbecue sauce.  Enjoy with potato salad, slaw, baked beans and a loaf of French bread.


Chef Randy’s Watermelon Salad
Recipe by: Chef Randy Cheramie (read more about Chef Randy here.)

2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 lime, zested and juices
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
4 cups seeded watermelon chunks
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup fresh mint, chiffonade
2 cups baby arugula

Method:Add the white wine vinegar, lime zest and juice to a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add the thinly sliced red onion and let marinate for 5 to 10 minutes as you prepare the rest of the salad.

Add the watermelon, feta, mint, and arugula to a large bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette and serve immediately after dressing.


Chef Marcelle’s Red, White and Blue Cheesecake
Recipe by: Chef Marcelle Bienvenu (read more about Chef Marcelle here.)


28 chocolate wafers, ground fine in a blender or food processor (about 1 1/2 cups crumbs)
1 stick unsalted butter

4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups raspberries or strawberries
1 1/2 cups blueberries

Method: To make the crust, stir together the cookie crumbs and the butter until the mixture is well blended.  Pat the mixture onto the bottom and 1/2 inch up the side of a 9 1/2-inch springform pan.  Chill for 30 minutes.  For the filling, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  In a bowl with an electric mixture beat the cream cheese until it is light and fluffy.  Gradually add the sugar, beating until the mixture is well blended.  Beat in the flour and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in the sour cream, the zests, the salt and vanilla until all is well blended.

Pour the filling into the crust and bake the cheesecake in a foil-lined shallow baking pan in the middle of the oven for one hour and 10 minutes.  The cheesecake will not be completely set, but will set as it cools.  Turn the oven off and let the cheesecake stand in the oven with the oven door propped open about six inches until it is cooled completely.  Cover and chill the cheesecake for at least six hours.

Remove from pan.  Arrange the raspberries or strawberries on top of the cheesecake in a star shape.  Then arrange the blueberries around the star to cover the top of the cheesecake.  To serve, cut into thin slices.




Alumni Spotlight: Johnene Breaux, B.S. ’16

Chef Johnene Breaux graduated from Nicholls State University in 2016. Breaux says that she has always had a passion for cooking but found that she loves catering to people on a more personal level. Since graduating from culinary school, Breaux has worked at Emerils, The Ritz Carlton, Southern Hills Country Club, and Brigtsens. Breaux spent quite a bit of time traveling before opening her catering company, Taste of Joy, LLC. 

Q: What is your favorite project that you have worked on so far?

A: My favorite project was working for Normani from 5th Harmony at Coachella. It was a busy weekend but overall there were vibes and it was just a beautiful experience.

Q: Who are some of the celebrities that you have had the opportunity to cook for?

A: Angelica Nwandu (CEO of Shaderoom), Diddy, Jude Demorest (from the TV show Star), and Dannell Ellerbe (Linebacker Philadelphia Eagles) just to name a few.

Q: What did you learn at CJFCI that still impacts you today?

A: I think that the skills and techniques that I was taught were very important to my success. Cooking is all about building flavor. One of the most impactful classes that I took was with Chef Frank Brigtsen. I learned a lot of great recipes and tips and trick about cooking.

Q: What advice would you like to share with young culinarians?
A: Learn as much as you can, pay attention, ask questions, and always volunteer whenever you can. You can do anything that you put your mind to!

Alumni Spotlight: Allison Richard, B.S. ’07

Chef Allison Richard graduated from Nicholls State University in 2007. Richard says that she originally wanted to be a teacher but couldn’t get away from her love of the kitchen. Since graduating from culinary school, Richard has had the opportunity to work with many well-known chefs over the years such as Frank Brigtsen, Susan Spicer and Jeremy Wolgamott. Richard moved her way up in restaurants in New Orleans before being offered her current role as the Executive Chef of High Hat Cafe. 


Richard had the opportunity to work with culinary legend Chef Paul Prudhomme.

Q: What is your current job like?
A: Being the Chef of a restaurant is the dream for a lot of young cooks. It was never my dream. I wanted to be a teacher. I started working in what I call ‘real’ kitchens, or professionally run kitchens, during my time at CJFCI. I found out that I wasn’t too bad at it. When I progressed to being a Sous Chef, I still did not want to be the Chef. I knew that the hours were long, the job was physically demanding, and the crushing weight of responsibility can turn you into a different person. When the offer of Chef was given to me, for some reason, I did not hesitate to take it. Being a chef requires hard work and dedication. It is not only physically demanding but mentally as well. It’s not just about long hours, it’s about finding time within those hours to do ALL the things you need to do. You are not only responsible for the food but also for the staff and their actions. On a daily basis, I write/create specials, write schedules, manage staff, taste food, expedite service, act as a line cook, call in orders, etc.

Richard was also chosen to study at Institut Paul Bocuse in France during her time at Nicholls.

Q: What interested you in the culinary industry?
A: It’s not that I was specifically ‘interested’. You get hooked. The adrenaline rush of your first busy night on a line as a cook is the best feeling you’ll ever have in your life. After that, it’s all about the ‘perfect night’. You know, the night where nothing goes wrong, your fellow cooks are all in sync, and everyone has fun doing it… aka Unicorn Night.

When I was younger I had an aunt that would cook me copious amounts of delicious food. As I would sit down to eat, she would just stand in front of me. I finally asked her why she did this. She responded with, “I like to cook for people and watch them eat.” She was looking for that ‘mmm this is delicious’ face. She wanted to stare it in the eye. I get that now. I just want to cook for people. I want them to experience something, whether it be something new or a memory of foods past.

Q: What is your favorite project that you have worked on so far?
A:I really enjoy off-site events. It’s like going rogue or guerilla cooking. You prepare for everything, but inevitably something happens. I like thinking on my feet.
We worked on a very lovely dinner at the aquarium called Audubon GULF dinner series. Five different chefs use sustainable seafood to illustrate the dangerous impact associated with the irreparable actions taken in the industry today. Getting the chance to work with such amazing chefs as Tenney Flynn, Brian Landry, Chris Lynch and Dana Horn was really great for me.

Richard is one of many of our students that work closely with Chef Frank Brigtsen at his highly esteemed restaurant in New Orleans.


Q: What did you learn at CJFCI that still impacts you today?
A: Culinary school was the right choice for me. I needed the extra push and the leg up. It also gave me quite a bit of confidence starting out. I learned that not all cooks are created equal. We all have our strong points and they are most probably different from another person’s. The most impactful class that was able to participate in was Meat Fabrication I and II with Chef George Kaslow. I think about him on a weekly if not daily basis. I hope to one day have impacted someone’s life the way he did to mine.  Also, Frank Brigtsen’s Contemporary Creole and Cajun helped me get my foot in the door in New Orleans. I learned so much with Frank and I couldn’t have done it without taking that class.

Q: What advice would you like to share with young culinarians?
A: Sharp knives!
Head down.
Take notes…. all the time. Use a notebook.
Save recipes from every job you ever work at.
Steal with your eyes.
Learn from others’ mistakes.