The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF) loves to share great success stories about its ProStart® students. While learning in the classroom is important, getting real-world work experience is integral to the student’s, and the program’s, ultimate success. The LRAEF is so appreciative of the LRA members who hire ProStart students and give them the on-the-job training that will take them that much further in their culinary education.
Eighteen year old Tyler Day is a senior at West Monroe High School. He decided to participate in Bette Maroney’s ProStart program because he was interested in pursuing a career in the culinary field. Day’s classmates learn viable skills through ProStart, including the very important food safety curriculum.
“I enjoy when we help with events and I enjoyed getting ServSafe® certified,” said Day.
All ProStart students across the state have the opportunity to take the 8-hour, nationally-recognized ServSafe food safety course. After the course, the students are tested on the material and if they score high enough, they obtain ServSafe certification that is valid for five years.
“Offering ProStart students the chance to be ServSafe certified provides great advantages,” said LRAEF ProStart Coordinator Devi Theriot. “Not only does it teach the students about the importance of food safety, but it also gives them a certification that they can take with them to any restaurant job. It’s an automatic positive in their favor.”
The LRAEF has trained thousands restaurant employees in ServSafe since 1997. At least one employee in every restaurant in the state must be ServSafe-certified.
Day is a fry cook at Warehouse No. 1. Open since 1980, the restaurant overlooks the Ouachita River in Monroe. Co-Owner/General Manager and LRA Northeast Chapter Board Member Dennis Clack understands the importance of hiring ProStart students.
"Tyler was a rare find," said Clack. "The training he learned through ProStart put him above other candidates applying. He has a vast knowledge of how to handle food safely and as a young person, his knife skills are better than average."
Day believes that ProStart has given him a better understanding of the restaurant industry, which was helped him in his job at Warehouse No. 1. He aspires to attend the Louisiana Culinary Institute in Baton Rouge and wants to continue to have a career in the culinary arts.
Maroney feels it’s important that her students have real-life kitchen experience to supplement their ProStart coursework.
“[ProStart] allows students the opportunity to get a true taste of what working in the foodservice industry is all about,” said Maroney. “While actual kitchen experience is important, a foundation for those experiences is definitely needed to ensure it is a worthwhile experience.”
She continued, “Tyler is a talented young man who knows what he wants to do in life.”
Interested in providing a job opportunity to a ProStart student? Want to host a ProStart class at your restaurant and provide a tour? Contact LRAEF ProStart Coordinator Devi Theriot to talk about all the different ways LRA members can get involved.