“I loved ProStart in high school because my teacher taught us the correct names of equipment and food terms,” said Lee. “It really prepared me for a job in a restaurant kitchen and for my first year in culinary school. I felt like I was ahead of other students.”
Lee recently graduated from the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux. She partially funded her education with the LRA Board Fund Scholarship that she received for three years.
“[The scholarships] helped me with buying textbooks and knives,” said Lee.
Lee has interned at Ralph’s on the Park in New Orleans and Chez Pierre in Metairie, learning new skills along the way. As for her current job at Willa Jean, she is enjoying the experience.
“I am learning so much about bread work and how to care for it. I love how much patience and care it takes to make the perfect baguette.”
LRAEF board member and Besh Restaurant Group managing partner Octavio Mantilla appreciates the knowledge and experience that comes with hiring a ProStart graduate.
“We love hiring ProStart students,” said Mantilla. “They are already very knowledgeable about restaurant kitchens and procedures, and April is a great example of that ‘restaurant-ready’ employee and that shines through in her work at Willa Jean.”