LSBDC, John Folse Culinary Institute, Nicholls cooking up future chefs through culinary competition

It’s no secret that the next generation of chefs and restaurateurs would like to learn the same ingredients to culinary success that Chef John Folse used. To help them turn the heat up in the kitchen, the Louisiana Small Business Development Center Greater New Orleans and Bayou Region (LSBDC GNOBR) in partnership with the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute and Nicholls State University hosted the 2017 Culinary Business Plan and Pitch Competition in Thibodaux on April 28.

LSBDC GNOBR Director Carmen Sunda said, the dream of every chef is to one day have their own restaurant, and “running a successful restaurant is more than excellent cuisine, it takes business skills.”

“This event offered a unique opportunity for Nicholls aspiring entrepreneurs, to learn what it would take to launch their culinary dream,” Sunda said.

In preparation for the competition, there was educational training to help develop a strong pitch and an offering of other business resources to assist the participants.

LSBDC GNOBR Culinary & Food service Business Development Consultant Dianne Sclafani facilitated two boot camps that offered tips for writing a winning culinary business plan, and how to create a clear, concise and compelling culinary business pitch. Sclafani also offered one-on-one coaching through the process.

“I was impressed by the practical business knowledge that the students acquired as part of their culinary curriculum. Some have a deep understanding of business from working in management,” Sclafani said.  “It was a pleasure working with them in class and one-on-one on their cash flow projections, business plans and developing their pitches.”

Sclafani said she appreciated their dedication to their school studies, working part-time around their classes and taking on the requirements in time and effort for the boot camps and competition.

“Preparing great dishes are essential for a food establishment. Any food business is tough to maintain. You need to have fortitude to overcome the ongoing business challenges,” Sclafani said. “Their demonstration in determination for excellence convinced me that these culinarians have the potential of being great entrepreneurs. All of the students that participated in this competition are winners.”

The process paid off for Billie Babin with her Bee Cool Snowballs plan that was tabbed as the overall first place winner and a cash award of $1,500. Babin was followed by Amy Rogers’ Sweet Remedies in second place, and Landon Falgoust and Michael Williams’ Stein Sub-tuff in third place.

And to put the cherry on top, Babin opened her Bee Cool Snowball business in June 2017 shortly after the competition.

Sunda added: “We would like to give a very special thanks to Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts for sponsoring this event and providing the cash awards for the business plan winners.  The LSBDC plans to partner annually with Nicholls State University and the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute and assist in launching the next generation of restauranteurs.”


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The Louisiana Small Business Development Center Network, hosted by Louisiana Delta Community College, is an accredited member of the National Association of Small Business Development Centers and funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana Economic Development and participating universities. All SBA programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and/or limited English proficiency will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.
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