Thursday, November 29, 2012

LRA GNO Chapter donates culinary equipment to ESJ's displaced ProStart program

Kitchenware and appliances are valued at more than $5,500 and were presented to the school November 28

Just a short time ago, Louisiana was looking down the barrel of yet another hurricane and areas surrounding the Metro New Orleans Area were greatly impacted by severe flooding due to Hurricane Isaac's storm surge. While many of us in the area were without power for days, others in the areas affected where salvaging what was left of their belongings, seeking alternative housing and officials were looking for other facilities to educate the students at the schools that experiences damage.

LRAEF Executive Director Alice Glenn, Chef Duke LoCicero
LRA Director Paul Rotner and ProStart Coordinator
James Blanchard with ProStart Instructor Autrey
Washington with East St. John HS officials.
One of those schools was East St. John High School, located in Reserve, La. in the River Parishes between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Inundated with flood waters, the damage forced students into Leon Godchaux Junior High School temporarily while the repairs are managed. Sadly, the school’s ProStart program experienced a loss of its equipment in its kitchen lab and textbooks.

The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) Education Foundation (LRAEF) replaced their textbooks. Here’s where the LRA's Greater New Orleans Chapter stepped in. They agreed to replace much of the kitchen tools needed to demonstrate the lesson plans.

On November 28, 2012 the LRA GNO Chapter donated $5,500 in small wares and equipment to the ESJ ProStart program, which is administered by the LRA Education Foundation. NBC 33 in Baton Rouge covered the presentation here.

LRA GNO Chapter 2nd VP Chef Duke LoCicero shows off
some of the donated equipment to the East St.
“The flooding of Reserve and LaPlace affected us deeply,” said LRA GNO Chapter 2ndVice President Chef Duke LoCicero, owner of CafĂ© Giovanni in New Orleans. “The chapter, of course, was familiar with the daunting task of replacing items lost to a flood and it was especially upsetting to hear that East St. John High School’s ProStart program was in jeopardy. We wanted to help in any way we could.”

Among the items contributed were: a commercial reach-in refrigerator; two microwave ovens, a propane gas grill, two commercial lift stand mixers; knives, sharpeners, pots, pans and mixing bowls of various sizes and a whole host of other necessary kitchen items.
The LRA GNO Chapter’s donation ensures that the high school’s ProStart students will continue their studies in its temporary site at the vacated Leon Godchaux Junior High School. Students will transition to temporary buildings on East St. John’s campus in early 2013 and remain there until the school’s repairs are completed.

“The donation from the Louisiana Restaurant Association will be very beneficial to our ProStart program,” said East St. John High School ProStart Instructor Autrey Washington. “Students will have tools and supplies that are an essential aid for the learning process. As a result, hands-on activities will be more realistic, creative and developed in a variety of ways that demonstrate skills achieved.”

ProStart is administered in Louisiana by the LRAEF and is a nationwide program for high school students that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s foodservice leaders. From culinary techniques to management skills, ProStart’s industry-driven curriculum provides real-world educational opportunities and builds practical skills, such as teamwork, communications, math and science, and a foundation that will last a lifetime.

The Louisiana ProStart program is grateful to its partners: Diamond- Auto-Chlor Services and the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation; Platinum- Performance Foodservice Caro; and Gold- Louisiana Culinary Institute, Ocean Conservancy and Atmos Energy.

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