Nicholls alumni honored with gold medals

Gold Medal Chefs Jana Billiot and Michael Gulotta, center and center right, pose for a photo with Dr. Jay Clune, Nicholls president; Allison Clune; Chef John Kozar, department head of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, Katie O’Hara, Maypop pastry chef; and Chef Don Kasten, coordinator of Bistro Ruth and assistant professor. (Hillary Charpentier/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University was well-represented at the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation’s seventh annual Gold Medal Chefs Gala and Hospitality Awards, with two alums recognized as being among the best in the culinary industry.

Chefs Michael Gulotta (BS ‘03) and Jana Billiot (BS ‘07) were named Gold Medal Chefs by the foundation.

“We’re very proud of Chefs Gulotta and Billiot,” said Chef John Kozar, department head of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute. “Their accomplishments are a product of their hard work, attention to detail and culinary creativity. Not only are they great chefs, but they are incredible ambassadors for Nicholls State University.”

For Gulotta, this is just another in a laundry list of awards and achievements. The owner of the popular New Orleans establishments, MoPho and Maypop, he appeared on Food Network’s Iron Chef Gauntlet in 2017 and has been named a James Beard Award finalist and New Orleans Magazine’s Chef of the Year.

Before being named chef de cuisine at the New Orleans-based Restaurant R’evolution in 2016, Billiot worked her way up to sous chef at the Michelin-starred Tru in Chicago.

The annual fundraiser benefits the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation. Their mission is to strengthen Louisiana’s hospitality industry by supporting workforce development programs, providing access to culinary and hospitality education, promoting awareness and providing financial assistance to culinarians.


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