May. 22 2017
It’s the end of the school year and a slower day in the Pro-Start kitchen at Woodlawn High School as teacher Steven Oubre walks a few students through some knife skills. However, in the midst of the semester, there’s a flurry of future chefs at work.
“I started in 2010, I had three students. From there, I average about 120 a year now,” Oubre said.
A former professional chef for the New Orleans Hornets, Oubre is now guiding the next generation and currently has a waiting list to take his class.
“It’s getting the basics out of the way, your safety sanitation, your knife skills. How to order, receive, do inventory, do things like that you typically learn in college, when I went to college in my first year. So it’s really neat how it prepares them to do more than just french fries in a basket,” Oubre said.
Selena Seitz, a junior at Woodlawn High, said she loves the class and what Chef Oubre teaches.
“I really enjoy it. I really think Chef has a great time teaching us, teaching us all the things he has learned throughout his experience being a chef, and I really enjoy the class,” Seitz said.
Earlier this year, Oubre received the State’s Educator of Excellence award from The Louisiana Restaurant Association.
Oubre said there are 70 high school teachers who teach culinary arts in the state, so even to be nominated is a huge thing.
“I won based off my merits and what I’ve done, we do a lot. We cook for the house and senate at the Hilton during the legislative session. How many kids receive scholarships, how many get their service criteria, it’s a bunch of different things,” Oubre said.
Thursday, Oubre departs for Chicago and the National Food and Restaurant Association show, not just to compete but to engage in conversation to make Pro-Start programs even more beneficial for students.
“It’s really amazing to see. The commitment and the passion they put into it. It’s kinda rewarding itself. I may never have a five-star restaurant, but I may have 20 kids one day who may have one. So kinda build and live vicariously through my students,” Oubre said.
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