Nicholls culinary student heads to national contest

THIBODAUX – Having recently placed first in the South Central Region San Pellegrino Almost Famous Chef Competition, a Nicholls State University student will proceed to the national competition in March.

Tony Oliveira, a Memphis, Tenn., native and senior in the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, competed against six other students representing Nicholls, the Art Institute of Houston – where the regional competition was held – and the Art Institute of Dallas. Judged by several accomplished chefs, Oliveira was given two hours to prepare eight distinct meals, including a showpiece plate and a plate specifically for the judges.

His first-place victory paves the way to the national competition at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in California.

Chef Randy Cheramie, associate dean of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, said Nicholls’ success is magnified by the exclusive nature of the competition.

“The other two schools cost $80,000 for a two-year degree, and we still smoked them.”

Shannon Edwards, a senior from Cutoff, La., also participated in the competition and “probably placed second in point value,” Cheramie added.