LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Some employees of the Golden Nugget are betting big on education.
SOWELA and the casino have teamed up to give employees the opportunity to master new skills in the culinary arts, earn a degree, and potentially increase their pay.
“I already knew how to cook from my parents, but they teach me the technicality of it,” Evelyn Victorian, one of the employees taking this course, said.
“I just like knowledge,” Victorian said. “I like to learn more. I like to learn a little bit of everything. Home cooking; I just play it by ear. In the class, they got recipes down precise to the measurements. You know, at home, we just sprinkle and keep it moving.”
Michael Elliot is the executive chef at the Golden Nugget and said this gives his kitchen staff the chance to improve their skills.
“Our students started out here. Most of them in these classes, as day one employees,” Elliot said. “They start it as a job. Now, with going through all these classes, this training, their course credits, they’ve created this into a career for them.”
Victorian said the importance of furthering her education took precedence over her free time.
“I take it on my off day,” Victorian said. “So, I’ve been off one day a week since it started. So, I have to sacrifice my one off day to further my education. We don’t miss a beat.”
“I’m disabled, so I only work part time,” Douglas Berry said. "These classes definitely fit into my schedule because I only work Friday and Saturday nights.”
Berry said getting this degree could open the possibility of starting his own business.
“Whenever I get my degree, I’d like to work on putting a disaster relief kitchen together that I could take wherever and do disaster relief work,” Berry said. “I think it’s a wonderful program and I’m glad I was able to be a part of it.”