LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A new, international partnership is encouraging students to pursue careers in culinary arts.
A formal announcement was made Tuesday at the College Street Vocational Center.
Officials said it's perfect for Southwest Louisiana, because of our French culture.
"Arts culinaires" means "culinary arts" in French. Although the program already exists at the College Street Vocational Center, there is a new partnership.
"We are partnered with a school in Rennes, France. It's Louis Guilloux, a Lycee professional school there," explained career coach, Lorna Albers.
And visiting from there is Chef Antoine, who doesn't speak much English, but he can cook.
People today were able to sample some of the French-American cuisines, one of them being crepes.
"And in a few weeks, all these students from Lake Charles will be able to cook and prepare this crepe. They are the only ones who know it," said New Orleans French Consulate, Philippe Aldon.
But the program is more than just food. It's also an exchange of cultures and students.
"In April 2014, we'll have 15 students from Rennes, from Louis Guilloux, that will come to visit for a week," said Albers.
And it may even be possible for culinary arts students here to visit there.
"We'll see. Maybe our students going there. We're not really sure how far this will go, but it's an exciting adventure for sure," said Albers.
An exciting and growing career. Walker Alvey is a current student who says his grandfather inspired him to pursue culinary arts.
"I want to be an executive chef, one day open up my own restaurant, hopefully," said Alvey.
"Students are very excited about the food service industry and what they see on TV. And it is a very exciting time, because our economy is growing. And as that grows, so will all of those opportunities for students," said Albers.
"You have big chef, big restaurants, big schools to prepare these chefs so this is an excellent program and we will be able to collaborate and train, and in exchange of knowledge and good cook, good food," said Aldon.
At a ceremony on Tuesday, 14 fifth-graders from Prien Lake Elementary received an international diploma that's recognized by the French Ministry of Education.
It means they're competent in French.
Aldon says that's amazing because usually that level of competence is seen in high school students.