115th Graduation Gallery
118th & 119th Graduation Gallery
Culinary Institute LENOTRE® 118th & 119th graduating classes walked across the stage and into their bright culinary futures on Friday, December 18th, 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
I’ve been asked to address you this morning. I’ve spoken to you so many times before. Most of you have been in one of my classes, so I know you. It’s been a privilege to assist at many of these graduations. I want to thank Mr. Lenotre. He is the founder and the reason why we have this school. He is an inspiration to all of us. I also want to thank you because you are the reason why there is a school. The reason why I am able to come and teach every day. I’ve learned a lot from you. You inspire me. You may not know this, but when I first arrived here, I was not sure that I would enjoy teaching and passing my knowledge on to others. You asked a lot from me, every day you asked questions; questions that I didn’t even ask myself. That’s what makes you great! You challenged me, and I do believe that you are great and have a great future! This year has been a tough year for everyone, but you are here and all graduating today.
At school we changed the way we used to do things, because we had to adapt to the new normal of operating during the pandemic. You kept learning and asking questions. For that I am grateful. So I’m going to be quick for a change and I’m going to conclude with that, but as you know I have been around the world enjoying the profession that I love. Being a chef gave me everything that I have today. I never thought that I would end up here; sculpting the future of my industry. You are the future. You make me proud today and I’m sure you are going to continue making me proud! Thank you very much and Congratulations!
Chloe Mendez - Graduation Speech
Good morning, it is an honor to be speaking with you today. First of all I really want to thank and Congratulate my peers. I enjoyed learning alongside you and can't express enough how grateful I was to meet people from all different walks of life.
Secondly, I want to thank my amazing teachers that worked hard to help me understand and grow. Thank you! Without your skillful teaching I may not have got this far. I also will like to thank LeNotre as an institute. This is a great school and I would recommend it to anyone with a passion for culinary.
Lastly, I would like to thank my family and friends for all the love and support through my journey they are the back bone to my success.
I'm sure I can speak for us all when I say that 2020 has been a very difficult year. I saw my fair share of trials and was able to make my way through them. This pandemic has definitely shown us a lot and made us grow through situations we never thought we could get through. My tough time only served to strengthen me and fan the flames of passion, drive, and determination. I'm ready to take this knowledge and find my place in the world thanks to Lenotre culinary Institute. I would like to leave you with this quote by Kerry Washington “your life is your story and the adventure ahead of you is the journey to fulfill your own purpose and potential”. Thank you so much everyone for listening and congratulations class of 2020.
Jennifer Holiday - Graduation Speech
Welcome family, friends, chefs, faculty and fellow graduates. It is an honor to be standing before you on such a memorable occasion. I thank God first and foremost, and my amazing husband who is my greatest cheerleader.
Congratulations graduates! We survived! Let me begin by saying thank you for the opportunity to stand before everyone today. I am truly honored. It is with great pleasure that I can say, we have completed a chapter in our journey that some days seemed impossible, and it should be recognized for its immense significance. It is an act not only of personal commitment, but also one of pride. Each of you worked hard to get to this day. We endured the heat in the kitchen, along with a few cuts and bruises, but our hard work has paid off.
As we all know, this is just the beginning of what lies ahead. There are many avenues of opportunity for us, not to mention “we are graduating from the number one culinary institute in America”. That alone will open doors for us, but it will be up to us to walk through them. Making it in this business requires more than a few sharp knives and the ability to cook. We learned there are six qualities of a professional chef. Knowledge, skill, taste, judgment, dedication, and pride. Knowledge of the kitchen and all its inner workings from safety to ingredients and how they interact. The skill of preparation and organization because no chef can survive without it. One of the first things we learned as eager new students is the importance of “Mental Mise En Place”. Everything has a place, and everything should be in its place. It is important to have a clear head, a full glass of wine, and a plan in place to minimize wasted time and movement prior to preparation and cooking. The taste of a good dish is a combination of balanced flavors and the ability to create something pleasing to the palate. Judgment, a primary key to success, or failure depends on decision-making – “to plate, or not to plate”? Dedication and pride walk hand-in-hand. True dedication means sacrifice, and it will cost you weekends, holidays, social lives, friendships and even relationships. Take pride in your work and create something worthy of Chef Olivier’s approval (Mmmm Whaaa sound with hand gesture)
How many of you remember being asked “what do you want to be when you grow up”? Well now that you are all grown up and have decided on what you want to be, the question becomes, “what will you do from this day forward?”
Now is the time to write your own menu for success. Learn to improvise. When we go by the book, we lose our ability to adapt, to be creative. Sometimes you will find yourself without an ingredient or two. It will seem like everything is going wrong. If things do not go as expected, make the unexpected work in your favor. As you navigate into the world, serve up the best version of yourself. Do not waste energy trying to live up to what someone else wants you to be. It is better to be a first-rate version of yourself than a second-rate version of someone else, or a second-rate version of the person that other people want you to be. Be you first and foremost.
As you go forward, one dish at a time, stay sharp and try to do so without losing any body parts. We have had enough scares and close calls from some of our peers, and God knows Chef J.R. has shared with us some kitchen stories that would give you a whole new perspective on knife safety. Keep educating yourself, read all you can, travel as much as you can. Learn from every experience and be prepared to make mistakes. In every mistake there is a lesson, and in every lesson, there is room for growth. And to show you just how much I have grown during this journey, I leave you with profound words from Dr. Seuss
"You're off to great places, TODAY is your DAY, Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!"
And in my best Elvis Presley voice I say, “thank you very much”.