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115th Graduation Gallery

March 2020

116th & 117th Graduation Gallery

Culinary Institute LENOTRE® 116th & 117th graduating classes walked across the stage and into their bright culinary futures on Friday, August 7th, 2020. With students from Culinary Arts, Baking & Pastry Arts and Restaurant Management – Houston is sure to witness the #LenotreLegacy first hand! Congratulations to all our graduates and good luck!

Chef Olivier - Graduation Speech

A couple of weeks ago, I have been asked to “volunteer” to do a speech today.


Yet, yesterday I was still wondering what to share with you this morning.


I have assisted to many of those graduations and very often the guest speakers talked about themselves, their experiences, their failures followed by their stories of success.

It would be easy for me to follow their lead and talk about myself.


But today is not about me nor my past, it is about you and your future.


Today is no longer about the culinary Institute Lenotre, your classes, your grades your attendance…

It is about your next chapter.


Before you came to this school you all had dreams and desires.

Your academic instructors, along with your chefs might have chattered some of your dreams but also, they certainly offered you a more realistic view of our industry.


Their purpose was to give you tools, knowledge, techniques and Skill.


They have given you the foundation, the fundamentals. This is what you really need to start a successful career.


Today is for you all, an achievement, but it is also a beginning .


Beginning  of new life, because  Hospitality is not just a job, it is a way of life.


You will have the opportunity to travel the world, to meet new and interesting people, to learn something fresh everyday.

You will be part of an international community of hardworking people who all share the same passion.


However, this year, 2020, taught us that nothing should ever be taken for granted.


We are all affected by a world pandemic and by a new normal that we do not favor.


Our industry is on the forefront of the global economic crisis. 

When the world goes bad we are the ones who are suffering the consequences first.


We all  had our lives turn up side down.


But we prevailed.

Here at the school we responded swiftly to the challenge.

We changed the way we teach, we changed the way we welcome you into the premises and the way you learn.


This is what  we had to do, this is what you will have to do too.


2020 has proven that we all have to review our expectations, not downsizing our dreams, but rethink the way we will reach our goals.


It is a great time for fresh ideas, a great time for thinking out of the box, a great time for new comers like you to re-energized our industry.


You are our future. You are ready.


2020 should not be a year of failure or catastrophe to you.

It is the year of your graduation, the year of a new beginning the first year of a great future.


I believe in you, because I know you.

You will make us proud.

Trina Nicole Rangel - Graduation Speech

Before I begin my speech, I just wanted to point out that none of my family and friends knew that I was going to be speaking today, that being said...SURPRISE!!! Do you know how hard it was to keep it a secret?!

But now on a more serious note, I want to first congratulate all of the graduates for making it this far to accomplishing your life goals. Of course, it wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it. Next, I want to pass on the last bit of advice that was given to me from a strong Cherokee/Choctaw leader to take with you into the next phase of accomplishing your dreams, and that advice is “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me, and never take ‘no’ and ‘you can’t’ as an answer or a reason for you not to push on.  Because you can, no one can stop you but yourself.” That strong Native American leader I’m talking about was proud of three things; the blood that courses through my family’s veins, his family, and his ability to silence all


those who told him “no” and to prove everyone who said “you can’t” wrong. That prideful, strong Cherokee/Choctaw leader was my brother Christopher Hernandez. Yes, I said “WAS my brother”, unfortunately on June 21, 2009 is when he passed away. 11 years, 1 month, and 17 days have passed and it’s still a wound that refuses to close, every year that passes is like salt, a stinging reminder that he is no longer physically here. But rather than sitting in all my agony, I decided to take his advice and my promise to do something with my life and I ran with it. You can say that I’m still running. My race on becoming successful is far from over, as it is for you, my fellow graduates. Today is just a stepping stone toward something amazing. So, if you don’t remember any of the words of wisdom and encouragement given here today, I implore you to remember, “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.” When you wake up remind yourself, “It’s up to me to do the hard work”, because it won’t be easy and there are no hand-outs when it comes to life. “It’s up to me to keep pushing, even when I want to quit”, because quitting has never gotten anyone anywhere, or has made anyone successful.

If life should ever get you so far down to the point of wanting to give up, I want you to place your hand over your heart, when you feel that strong thump in your chest, I want you to remember how and what purpose feels like. We all were put on this earth for a reason and it’s our job to find that reason. Whether it’s owning your own business or volunteering in a soup kitchen. “Never take ‘no’ or ‘you can’t’ for an answer, because you can and no one can stop you but yourself.” Even though this phrase is self explanatory, the only thing I have to add is don’t be the reason why your dream doesn’t come to pass. Turn the “can’ts” to “cans” because you’ve already turned your dreams into plans.

I’d like to read a poem written by John Greenleaf Whitter called “Don’t Quit”:

Don’t Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,

When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,

When the funds are low and the debts are high and you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit,

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit

Life is strange with its twists and turns as every one of us sometimes learns

and many a failure comes about

When he might have won had he stuck it out;

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow -

you may succeed with another blow.

Success is failure turned inside out -

The silver tint of the clouds of doubt, and you can never tell just how close you are,

It may be near when it seems so far;

So, stick to the fight when your hardest hit -

It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

For all the sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been!”


On behalf of this term’s graduating class, I want to say thank you to everyone who supported us and gave us that extra push when we needed it. Thank you for not giving up on us when we wanted to call it quits and thank you for not giving us the option to quit when it got hard. So, in closing I’d like to offer a Native American Blessing to everyone here and watching at home today.


May Mother Earth guide your feet

May Father Sky keep his arms around you

May Grandfather Sun keep your cold days warm

May Grandmother Moon keep the glow in your heart

May the Star Nations light the way to your next destination

and May the Great Spirit always keep you shielded from harm and bless you with everything you do.

Thank you!

Leslie Heather Reglos - Graduation Speech

Good morning everyone,


My name is Leslie Reglos, and today I am graduating with an Associates of Applied Science in Baking and Pastry Arts.


My interest in food and baking stemmed from the joy I felt after making someone smile with the treats I’d make for fun. That interest developed into passion as I tried out more and more recipes, and I constantly watched food competitions and stared in awe at the contestants’ amazing creations, desperately wanting to be like them.

After I graduated high school, I wanted to pursue a degree in culinary arts; but my parents, who simply wanted a more stable career path for me, didn’t approve. So out of respect, I chose to do something that they would approve

Leslie CIL-8898.jpg

of and ended up attending classes at the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business. After two years at university, I felt miserable and unmotivated because I took no interest in most of the things I was learning. I felt lost and didn’t know what I was doing with my life because I was torn between following my dreams and wanting my parents’ approval, validation, and support. Eventually, I convinced my parents to let me enroll in a culinary school, and a friend’s recommendation introduced me to Culinary Institute Lenotre. My time at this institution has honestly been the best learning experience I’ve had - from Ms. O’Neill teaching us the benefits of vitamin C to Ms. Evans guiding us through Capstone and our very own business plan and all the other classes in between. Our chefs’ passion and love for what they do is conveyed through their knowledge and ability to go into depth with their lessons. I am grateful to have had instructors who are heavily invested in the success of their students. I am also grateful to have gone through this journey with peers who never hesitated to provide assistance to one another.

I would like to share with all of you something my sister helped me realize. Your happiness depends on the decisions you make for yourself and not on the decisions other people make for you. So, do what is best for yourself and do not worry so much what others think. Do not be afraid of failure, because with failure comes an opportunity to grow and learn. Whether it is continuing on to a career in the culinary field or deciding to go down a different path, I wish you all the best and for your continued success. Congratulations again to everyone graduating here today.

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