The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) is pleased to recognize the 2018 Class of the NextGen 30 & Under Louisiana Hospitality Awards. These LRA member-nominated young professionals were chosen for their talent, drive and service toward the restaurant and hospitality industry.
“Over the next 10 years, the restaurant industry in Louisiana is expected to add more than 15,000 jobs,” said LRA President & CEO Stan Harris. “Young professionals who are entering the workforce bring a fresh and modern approach to their careers, with new and innovative ideas that will take us into the next generation of successful entrepreneurship. We applaud these young men and women for taking the initiative and making the most of their opportunities in our industry.”
Members of the NextGen 30 & Under Hospitality Awards 2018 Class are: Richard Brennan III of Dickie Brennan & Co, Ricky Castro of Acme Oyster House, Priscilla Medina of Taste Buds Management and Katie Ostrowski of Tujague’s Restaurant.
Richard Brennan III grew up in a restaurant family; at age 13, he first started washing dishes and food running at Palace Café. As he got older, he worked in the kitchen over the summer until he went to college. He pursued a hospitality degree at the College of Charleston and furthered his education at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone (CIA). After graduating, he traveled to Italy where he trained under world-famous butcher Dario Cecchini. Since December 2017, Brennan has been working at the Dickie Brennan Family of Restaurants. At age 26, His influence can be seen at the Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse menu, with the addition of some lesser known meat cuts, as well as in the charcuterie program at Palace Café.
Ricky Castro is a kitchen manager who considers himself to be a dedicated leader who has always believed in the importance of teamwork, communication and adaptability. His background as a college athlete—he walked on LSU’s football team—prepared him for his career in management. Growing up in a team environment, he believes that hard work, commitment, communication and leadership leads to success and prepares him for any challenges that come his way. Castro joined the Acme Oyster House team in Metairie three years ago and now, at age 28, is in charge of hiring and scheduling staff, controlling costs, back of the house organization and most importantly, ensuring that Acme customers get great service and high quality food.
Priscilla Medina was a recent high school graduate when she started as a hostess at the Zea Rotisserie & Bar in Kenner. While working, she attended the University of New Orleans and studied marketing, where she became the first person in her family to earn a college degree. In 2013, Medina made the switch to another Taste Buds Management concept, Semolina, where she quickly assumed more responsibility and eventually was chosen as a brand ambassador for the restaurant. With all this experience under her belt, she was seen as a perfect fit for a job available in the Taste Buds Marketing Department. She is 27 years old and is currently the Digital Marketing and Promotions Manager and feels that the key to success is organization and working “smarter, not harder.”
Katie Ostrowski joined Tujague’s Restaurant in 2013, jumping into the various roles needed within the restaurant. In each position she mastered, she has proven to be an invaluable team member, bringing needed change, efficiency and improvements. Ostrowski, age 28, takes each new role head on and exceeds expectations with grace and true compassion and an inherent drive to succeed. Supervisors attest that the restaurant’s team members look up to her, admiring her drive and positive attitude. Currently, she is primarily focused on private dining sales at Tujague’s and is also an active member in Meeting Planners International.
The 2018 Class of NextGen 30 & Under Hospitality Award recipients will be recognized at the Opening Ceremony of the LRA EXPO Saturday, August 4 at 10:45 a.m. in the lobby of Hall I at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center.