Kenner Discovery culinary program fuels football team to playoff run

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KENNER, La. (WGNO) — When Kenner Discovery travels nearly four hours to play the Jena Giants in the opening round of the LHSAA Class 3A prep football playoffs, Coach P.J. Sprunks’ Swamp Owls will do so on a full stomach.

In fact, the Owls have been enjoying a full season of culinary delights thanks to the school’s participation in the national ProStart initiative. The two-year program, which is also recognized by both the National Restaurant Association and the Louisiana Restaurant Association, prepares students for a career in the culinary arts.

According to the NRA, ProStart reaches approximately 130,000 students in more than 1,700 high schools across 50 states, Guam and the District of Columbia. 

It is a curriculum that has led students to many job opportunities within the community, including such notable restaurants as Brennan’s, Hot Tails and Harbor Seafood.

“The ProStart program gets students ready to work in restaurants,” explained Bulliard. “They learn how to plan the costs, they learn servings, portion control, how to bake and do anything in the kitchen basically.”

Following the success of the program, the school was asked to provide food for the football team this season. It was a decision that has put many smiles on the Swamp Owls roster.

“All the players are extremely appreciative,” said Bulliard. “Every single one and they let me know the following week what they thought of the food. It was really nice to see how grateful they were for everything.”

Menu items created in the state-of-the-art teaching lab and kitchen include spaghetti and meatballs, chicken alfredo, jambalaya, and a New Orleans staple – red beans and rice.

“One of the sayings you hear a lot around school is, ‘it takes a village’,” said Coach Sprunk. “We are fortunate enough to have an opportunity to have a class to do things for our team. It was an idea [Kenner Discovery Director of Athletics Jeryl Fischtziur] had late last year when we knew we’d have the new building and the kitchen up and running.

“They do a great job for us,” he continued. “We’ve had absolutely zero complaints on the meals so far, so it’s always a good thing to have people on your side.”

To learn more about ProStart and the Louisiana Restaurant Association, click here.

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