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First Name/Last   Marilyn Ontiveros
Current City   Houston, Texas
Course of Study   AAS in Culinary Arts
Graduation   2018

Good evening! My name is Marilyn Ontiveros and I am proud to be a current student and an alumnus of Culinary Institute Lenotre.
I am a single mother of 3 with 2 grandchildren (no they don’t all live with me, thank God!). In October of 2015, I decided to go back to school to do what I have always dreamed of, becoming a Chef. I was so impressed with the staff at the Culinary Institute Lenotre and their caring attitude that I decided that this was wonderful institution where I wanted to go.

When I first started, I worked 2 jobs at the same time to make ends meet, which they usually didn’t and still don’t. With rent, a vehicle payment, food, utilities and school tuition plus having a special needs child, makes everything overwhelming and difficult.
I graduated in March 16, with an Associate degree in Culinary Arts. I started working, at a fast pace for The Post Oak Hotel, and within 2 weeks, I had a heart attack, at the age of 52. April 1st, 2018 I had a double bypass surgery. By the time I was out of the hospital, my mother had a heart attack too, April 12 and then passed away April 16.
But I am now back to work for Aramark at NRG Center 3 days a week. Two days a week I attend Culinary Institute Lenotre again for my second associate’s degree, in Hospitality and Restaurant Management, so that I move up the ladder a little.
Whether you know it or not your generous donation helped my dream of becoming a Chef come true. I received a Scholarship for $5000 and I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this wonderful opportunity. My mother passed knowing I achieved my dream, because of you.
Thank You!!!

The post Alumni Spotlight: Marilyn Ontiveros appeared first on Culinary Institute Lenôtre.

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Cy-Fair High School senior Sara Mendez hugs her mother after winning first place in the Advanced Culinary division of the CFISD Cupcake Battle for her black forest cupcake. Mendez won Best Presentation the previous two years before earning first place at the competition, held Jan. 11 at the Berry Center.

Jan. 14, 2019Mia Campos of Cypress Falls High School and Sara Mendez of Cy-Fair High School won first place in their respective competition divisions at the third annual CFISD Cupcake Battle, held Jan. 11 at the Berry Center.

The entire competition featured more than 50 entries from 12 CFISD high schools. Industry professionals from Johnson & Wales University’s College of Culinary Arts, Culinary Institute LeNotre, Acosta Food Service, as well as current and retired culinary teachers from neighboring school districts joined CFISD staff members in serving as judges for the competition. The judges graded the cupcakes for overall taste and design, while other categories included Best Cake, Best Frosting, Unique Flavor, Most Technical Technique and Best Presentation.

Falls High School junior Mia Campos poses next to the KitchenAid mixer and other prizes she won after placing first in the Culinary I division of the third annual CFISD Cupcake Battle for her orangedreamsicle cupcake.

Culinary students prepared cupcakes the week leading into the competition at their home campuses and set them up at the Berry Center to be judged. Top-three places were awarded in both the Advanced Culinary Arts (second-year students) and Culinary I categories. Winners received prizes including KitchenAid mixers, cupcake pans, cake decorating kits and other seasonal items donated by partners H-E-B and Randall’s.

Mendez, a senior, placed first in the Advanced Culinary division with her black forest cupcake. Cy-Fair High School junior Noah Jasikfinished second with his carrot cupcake, while Cypress Ridge High School senior Patrick Billette placed third with his Boston cream cupcake.

“It was very unexpected,” Mendez said. “I’ve won presentation awards two years in a row, so this is a big improvement for me. I didn’t think my cupcake would stand out from all the others in the Advanced group that competed.”

Norma Elletson of the Culinary Institute LeNotre was among the judges for the third annual CFISD Cupcake Battle, held Jan. 11 at the Berry Center. She was joined by industry professionals from Johnson & Wales University’s College of Culinary Arts and Acosta Food Service, as well as current and retired culinary teachers from neighboring school districts and CFISD staff members. The cupcakes were judged for overall taste and design, while other categories included Best Cake, Best Frosting, Unique Flavor, Most Technical Technique and Best Presentation.

Campos, a junior, placed first in the Culinary I division with her orange dreamsicle cupcake. Cy-Fair sophomore Jasmine Porterfinished second with her Samoa mocha cupcake, while Cypress Ridge junior Brenda Eguizabal placed third with her cinnamon pecan cupcake.

“This is really encouraging,” Campos said. There are a lot of traditional activities and the academics, but these competitions go to show that you can literally do anything you want to do. If you want to be a baker, you can achieve that and this program pushes you to do what you love.”

More than 50 entries comprised the third annual CFISD Cupcake Battle, held Jan. 11 at the Berry Center. Competitors in both Culinary I and Advanced Culinary Arts (second-year students) participated in separate categories, with cupcakes judged for overall taste and design in addition to subcategories for best cake and frosting among others.

The following Culinary I students won subcategory awards:

  • Best Cake – Fairrelle Laymon, Cy-Fair (lemon supreme cupcake);
  • Best Frosting – Victoria Jones, Cypress Woods (peanut butter cupcake);
  • Unique flavor – Dalayna Fridge, Cypress Lakes (berry cobbler cupcake);
  • Most Techincal Techinque – Eileen Irvin, Cy-Fair (red velvet cupcake);
  • Best Presentation – Makayla MacPherson, Cypress Ranch (chocolate raspberry cupcake).

“Every year, these students continue to step up their games,” said Mark Williams, career and technical education (CTE) coordinator. “We had 50-plus cupcakes and with the flavors and styles – it was amazing what the kids were able to do. They never cease to amaze me. I’m fortunate to have this group of students and teachers.”

Winners at the third annual CFISD Cupcake Battle were (from left) Cypress Ridge junior Brenda Eguizabal (Culinary I division third place); Cypress Woods senior Victoria Jones (best frosting); Cypress Lakes sophomore Dalayna Fridge (unique flavor); Cypress Falls junior Mia Campos (Culinary I division first place); Cypress Ranch junior Makayla MacPherson (best presentation); Cypress Ridge senior Patrick Billette (Advanced Culinary division third place); Cy-Fair sophomore Jasmine Porter (Culinary I division second place); Cy-Fair junior Fairrelle Laymon (best cake); Cy-Fair senior Sara Mendez (Advanced Culinary division first place); Cy-Fair senior Eileen Irvin (most techincal technique); and Cy-Fair junior Noah Jasik(Advanced Culinary division second place).

Cypress Ranch High School junior Makayla MacPherson earned Best Presentation for the chocolate raspberry cupcake display at the third annual CFISD Cupcake Battle.

The post CULINARY ARTS STUDENTS TAKE TOP HONORS IN THIRD CFISD CUPCAKE BATTLE appeared first on Culinary Institute Lenôtre.

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First Name/Last   Elizabeth Balder
Hometown  Houston, Texas
Current City   Houston, Texas
Course of Study   Baking and Pastry
Graduation   2018

What’s your story?

I enrolled at CIL right after high school. I chose it becuase it had smaller classes, was close to home, and had shorter time period for the diploma program. I really just wanted the two weeks of the cake decorating but took everything else along with it. I am owner of Faux Cakes and Rentals

What inspired you to become a chef?

I love to make people happy. Cake is just like a plain canvas. You can make it or create it into anything you like. Imagination is not limited It also something people tend to remember for a life time.

How would you describe the impact of your courses at CIL on your daily life?

I had a strict instructor, always told it like it is- if it looked bad, if it looked good, over crowded, to much color, etc. As much as it was hard to take the criticism, I knew it would help me become better and help me strive for perfection- color scheme, organization, and compliment itself.

Any memorable moments as a student?

I got elected for the chocolate and wine gala and got awarded a scholarship, I was extremely nervous. Never had been to a country club. Fancy.

Do you have any projects in mind or in action?

Right now starting my business from ground up.

Any words of wisdom to students?

Don’t ever have to rush into anything. Opportunities are everywhere. And sometime certain opportunities can be too soon. Do what you feel is right at your own pace. No matter how many people tell you, you should do this or that. It always up to you. When your ready to jump into the waters. Always learn from your opponent. They to know things you don’t. Research all the time. Read books. In order to be number one you got to be different.

The post Alumni Spotlight: Elizabeth Balderaz appeared first on Culinary Institute Lenôtre.

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Culinary Institute LeNôtre Blog by Culinary Institute Lenotre - 3M ago

First Name/Last   Martin Lowe
Hometown   Brooklyn New York
Current City   Houston, Texas
Course of Study   Diploma in Culinary Arts
Graduation   2015

Personal Motivational Motto
Kaizen.   Japanese for “Continuous Improvement”

What’s your story?

After many years of working at the same place, I needed a change in my life and becoming a chef appealed to me. I love to cook and create new dishes, so to me, the next logical step was to take classes and learn proper techniques and to expand my culinary repitore. While looking at different schools, I instantlyng, knew CIL was the place for me the minute I walked through the doors. CIL had a family like feeling, and every other school I looked into seemed cold and unpersonal. After graduation, I work at Le Bistro, formally Kris Bistro when I was there after doing my internship there. I worked there for a year or so and left to open my own business, a food truck called The Fork & Truck with an eye on expanding.

What inspired you to become a chef?

Making people happy with my food is what inspires me as a chef. Seeing a smile on someone’s face when they take the first bite is the ultimate reward for a job well done.

How would you describe the impact of your courses at CIL on your daily life?

While at CIL I was introduced to wonderful ingredients that I never heard of or never tried before, and I currently use some of these exotic ingredients on my truck hoping that I can help our customers try something new or step out of their food comfort zone.

Any memorable moments as a student?

Every day at CIL was memorable. There are two moments that stand out the most, and still to this day, stand out, the first is the day I met my girlfriend on the first day of Pastry class, and the other is when Mr. LeNotre handed me my diploma, shook my hand and called me Chef.

Do you have any projects in mind or in action?

Currently, I am working on trying to increase exposure of The Fork & Truck, with an eye towards expansion in the future.

Would you like to share an anecdote or recipe with us?

Here is a tip: Instead of noodles when making lasagna, substitute egg white crepes. It is a great way to cut calories and to add protein to the dish

The post Alumni Spotlight: Martin Lowe appeared first on Culinary Institute Lenôtre.

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Tears of joy were seen on stage, smiles all around, and with great enthusiasm we are proud to say congratulations to our new CIL Alumni! With inspirational speeches given by our own students and after months of hard-work, it was finally time to say farewell to our 109th graduating class.  It is our honor to welcome our students on this new journey as a Chef and to remind them our doors are always open for you. Visit us, let us know how things are going and if you need work, remember, we offer lifetime job placement assistance!

Whether you’re graduating with a degree in Culinary ArtsBaking and Pastry or Hospitality & Restaurant Management Degree or Diploma, we are very proud of having all you as an Alumni!

Congratulations everyone and thank you for making this day special!

Find all of the graduation in our Dropbox:
109th Graduation Pictures

Kevin Avery Graduation Speech:

Good morning, Graduates, CIL staff, and family members. It is a great honor to stand before everyone today delivering this farewell. Some of you know me, several do not, so let me introduce myself… My name is Kevin Avery and I am here to receive my degree in baking and pastry arts. I would like to begin by saying congratulations to the 42 students graduating with me today because we all know, “The struggle was real”. I think I speak for the entire class when I also say “Thank you” to anybody that supported the graduates sitting before me today, whether it was a family member giving moral or even financial support, or a chef that pushed somebody to the extreme because they saw potential. I know I wouldn’t be standing before you today if it weren’t for you.

I have learned a lot in my time here at the Culinary Institute LeNotre, but there is one thing that stuck more than the rest. It was a recipe, a recipe that many of you are familiar with because it is used quite commonly amongst all of our chefs whether cuisine or pastry. I like to call this recipe humble pie, and today I’m going to share that recipe with everyone.

*First you are going to pre-bake your dreams and set them to the side for later use.*

Then, you are going to take 1 cup of your Imagination, and 1 cup of your inspiration and sift it directly into 2 cups of your pride. Then, you are going to add a sprinkle of your confidence, and stir as you gradually pour in all of your heart.

Next, you are going to take this hard work, and feed it directly into your chef, slowly, allowing enough time to fully process. (Warning: operating a chef requires special training, and can be hazardous if not handled with care!) Your chef will completely shred your hard work, while mixing it with an equal amount of critique, and spit it back out to you all at once. This step is highly important and must be followed precisely or you will not get the desired results.

Finally, pour your feedback into your pre-baked dreams, top it off with 8 ounces of red wine and sit for a while in a quiet place until everything has settled inside. Chill and enjoy.

Today we graduate, but we do not stop learning. Our diplomas and degrees do not exempt us from advances in our industry, they don’t shield us from society’s opinions and outlooks. They do not relieve us of the need for credibility, and they do not automatically place us at the top of our leagues. If this school has taught me anything, it is that you earn your right to wear the title “chef” and you do that through time, dedication, perseverance, and a little slice of humble pie from time to time.

I don’t know about the rest of the graduates, but for myself, today is such a bittersweet day. I finally get relief from the headache I have had the past two years, and I’m most certain that Jocelyn and Robert feel the same way because God knows I’m not easy to please. But, at the same time, I am leaving a place that has created so many wonderful memories, and brought so many unexpected wonderful people into my life. Today we close one chapter in our story and we begin another. Today is about you and your success, so as you grasp this moment in time, cherish it, share it with those that mean the most because moments like this are typically only once in a lifetime. As you walk across this stage, stand tall, and shine bright like the stars you all are and most of all celebrate your success, cause let’s be real… tomorrow, we go back to reality where it’s not all smiles and graduations. Congratulations Graduating class of 2018, and best of luck to everyone in your future endeavors…..

The post Congratulations to our 109th Graduating Class! appeared first on Culinary Institute Lenôtre.

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Tears of joy were seen on stage, smiles all around, and with great enthusiasm we are proud to say congratulations to our new CIL Alumni. Today, December 21st, marked a milestone for our students. After months of hard-work, it was finally time for our 109th class to graduate.  It is our honor to welcome our students on this new journey as a Chef and to remind them our doors are always open for you. Visit us, let us know how things are going and if you need work, remember, we offer lifetime job placement assistance!

Whether you’re graduating with a degree in Culinary ArtsBaking and Pastry or Hospitality & Restaurant Management Degree or Diploma, we are very proud of having all you as an Alumni!

Congratulations everyone and thank you for making this day special!

Find all of the graduation in our Dropbox:
109th Graduation Pictures

The post Congratulations to our 109th Graduating Class! appeared first on Culinary Institute Lenôtre.

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Culinary Institute LeNôtre Blog by Culinary Institute Lenotre - 3M ago

First Name/Last   Martin Lowe
Hometown   Brooklyn New York
Current City   Houston, Texas
Course of Study   Diploma in Culinary Arts
Graduation   2015

Personal Motivational Motto
Kaizen.   Japanese for “Continuous Improvement”

What’s your story?

After many years of working at the same place, I needed a change in my life and becoming a chef appealed to me. I love to cook and create new dishes, so to me, the next logical step was to take classes and learn proper techniques and to expand my culinary repitore. While looking at different schools, I instantlyng, knew CIL was the place for me the minute I walked through the doors. CIL had a family like feeling, and every other school I looked into seemed cold and unpersonal. After graduation, I work at Le Bistro, formally Kris Bistro when I was there after doing my internship there. I worked there for a year or so and left to open my own business, a food truck called The Fork & Truck with an eye on expanding.

What inspired you to become a chef?

Making people happy with my food is what inspires me as a chef. Seeing a smile on someone’s face when they take the first bite is the ultimate reward for a job well done.

How would you describe the impact of your courses at CIL on your daily life?

While at CIL I was introduced to wonderful ingredients that I never heard of or never tried before, and I currently use some of these exotic ingredients on my truck hoping that I can help our customers try something new or step out of their food comfort zone.

Any memorable moments as a student?

Every day at CIL was memorable. There are two moments that stand out the most, and still to this day, stand out, the first is the day I met my girlfriend on the first day of Pastry class, and the other is when Mr. LeNotre handed me my diploma, shook my hand and called me Chef.

Do you have any projects in mind or in action?

Currently, I am working on trying to increase exposure of The Fork & Truck, with an eye towards expansion in the future.

Would you like to share an anecdote or recipe with us?

Here is a tip: Instead of noodles when making lasagna, substitute egg white crepes. It is a great way to cut calories and to add protein to the dish

The post Alumni Spotlight: Martin Lowe appeared first on Culinary Institute Lenôtre.

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Culinary Institute LeNôtre Blog by Culinary Institute Lenotre - 3M ago

Today, our students had the opportunity to learn how to sharpen their knives, to care for them, and how they are made a with a demo by Chef Chris Parker.

Mercer knives are used in 90% of North American culinary academies because of their reliable quality and durability, making them one of the most recognized names in the industry.

Thank you Chef Chris for the insightful information and don’t forget to visit the Boutique for Mercer products.

The post Essential tool care: Knives appeared first on Culinary Institute Lenôtre.

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About Les Dames d’Escoffler International (LDEI) and the scholarship
LDEI is a non-profit international association of women with successful careers in food, wine, hospitality and agriculture. The group is dedicated to assisting others through scholarships, education, advocacy and philanthropy. The financial program is designed to assist Houston area women who are pursuing an education in the food/culinary arts. wine, hospitality and agriculture industries.

It is an honor to congratulate SanJuanita Garza and Haley Bobbitt who received the 2018 LES DAMES D’ESCOFFIER HOUSTON CHAPTER SCHOLARSHIP. We are very proud of you! Also, thank you LDE for this great opportunity you give our students.

For more information about the LDEI scholarship click here or contact:
Financial Aid Office
Phone- (713) 358-5052
Email- financialaid@ciaml.com

The post Les Dames D’Escoffier Scholarship Recipients appeared first on Culinary Institute Lenôtre.

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It is an honor and pleasure to congratulate Chef Christelle for winning the TCA Award Educator of the Year!

We are very proud of having her on our team and seeing her excel as a Chef.

The post Congratulations Chef Christelle! appeared first on Culinary Institute Lenôtre.

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