Morgan City Restaurateurs Rename Student Lounge at Chef John Folse Culinary Institute

Hillary Charpentier, development officer; Jeremy Becker, executive director of the Nicholls Foundation; Garrett LeBlanc; Dr. Jay Clune, Nicholls president; Gregory Hamer, Jr.; Jay LeBlanc; Valerie Hamer LeBlanc; Gregory Hamer, Sr.; and Brenda Hamer pose in front of the new Gregory and Brenda Hamer Family/Taco Bell Student Lounge and Research Center. (Rodney Woods/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute will rename its student lounge and culinary library in honor of Morgan City restaurateurs Brenda and Gregory Hamer, Sr. 

The Hamers donated $50,000 to the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, which will be used to buy and maintain state-of-the-art kitchen and cooking equipment for students. As recognition for their significant contribution, the lounge will be named the Gregory and Brenda Hamer Family/Taco Bell Student Lounge and Research Center. 

“We feel that it is very important for us to support the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute and especially the students,” the Hamer Family said. “It is exciting for us to know that not only are we currently able to assist the students but also that funds will be endowed to help strengthen the culinary institute for many years. Nicholls State University is an important asset to our region of the state. The culinary institute can bring additional recognition to Nicholls, and the vital part it plays in the lives of our region.” 

Brenda and Gregory Hamer, Sr. created B&G Food Enterprises in 1982 when they opened their first Taco Bell in Morgan City. Today, B&G operates more than 150 Taco Bell restaurants across Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. They are the largest Taco Bell franchisee in Louisiana. 

“By supplying our students with the latest in culinary technology, they will be better prepared to enter the workforce when they graduate,” said Chef John Kozar, department head and assistant culinary professor. “The Hamer Family has long supported the culinary institute, and I cannot thank them enough for everything they have done for our students.” 

Gregory Sr. is the emeritus director of the National Restaurant Association and past chairman of the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation. He also served as the President of the Louisiana Restaurant Association and was elected to the LRA Hall of Fame in 2002. 

Their son, Gregory Hamer, Jr., was in the first Chef John Folse Culinary Institute graduating class. 

For more information on the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, visit https://www.nicholls.edu/culinary

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