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Louisiana Culinary Institute



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Admissions Team

Louisiana Culinary Institute (LCI) has assembled an Admissions Team comprised of several individuals that are well versed on every aspect of LCI. Whether you have questions regarding enrollment, the LCI curriculum, or job placement assistance, the Admissions Team can provide the answer. Contact anyone on our Admissions Team to schedule a tour of our 40,000 square foot facility. Come in and see for yourself why we are the premier culinary school of the South.

Courtney Kirschner
Director of Admissions/ProStart Admissions Specialist

Courtney Tegtman is the Louisiana Culinary Institute’s Admissions Team Manager and ProStart Admissions Specialist.  Courtney has been at LCI for ever a year and has been committed to furthering helpful initiatives at LCI including ProStart partnerships. After working in many different aspects in the sports medicine world, including being a Nationally Certified Athletic Trainer, she realized her passion was in customer service and helping people reach their goals.  Previously having a strong educational background already, Courtney has now become even more diverse with adding on experience in the culinary world.  Born and raised in Stamford, Nebraska, Courtney holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Athletic Training from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas and a Master’s Degree in Sports Administration from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.  She looks forward to growing into the profession and working with new people every day.

 Kayla Ferguson Kayla Ferguson
Public Affairs Liaison/Alumni Affairs/ Workforce Solutions


Kayla Ferguson joined LCI in July of 2016 and will be serving as Public Affairs Liaison. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mass Communication and a background in public relations, event planning, fundraising and alumni relations.  In her role as Public Affairs Liaison, Ferguson will be assisting with marketing, event planning, career services, and alumni relations.  As the wife of a LCI graduate, Ferguson is extremely passionate about the culinary industry and plans to utilize her knowledge of the industry when advising students on their career options. She is very excited to be a part of the LCI family and looks forward to working with students and graduates as they embark upon their career paths.

Financial Aid
Louisiana Culinary Institute is committed to helping students realize their culinary dreams. This includes providing applicants and students with relevant information on funding options for their culinary education. Title IV Federal Student Aid, GI Bill and scholarships are available for those who qualify. Contact any member of the Financial Aid Office for more information.
Natalie Gunn 
Financial Aid Officer / Tuition Officer

Natalie Gunn is enthusiastic about becoming Louisiana Culinary Institute’s Financial Aid Officer / Tuition Officer.  After owning and managing a successful business in Chicago for over ten years, she is excited to employ those skills when assisting applicants in financing their culinary educational dreams.  No stranger to the arts, Natalie holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Studio Design with an emphasis in Interior Architecture.  Having started working on a Master’s Degree in Chicago, she plans to continue at Louisiana State University.  Natalie’s strong commitment to education and the arts, as well as her successful business background, makes her a valuable asset to Louisiana Culinary Institute’s staff.

Support Staff
Louisiana Culinary Institute has developed a support staff specializing in unique areas of student need. These individuals are committed to ensuring  that resources are available to promote student success. LCI prides itself on creating new innovative tools to help students reach their dreams. For any questions about the services provided by support staff please contact one of the staff members below.
Nicole Biddy-Resized Nicole Biddy
Pantry Chef

Nicole is a graduate of LCI with an Associate’s Degree in Occupational Studies (Advanced Baking & Pastry). She has several years of experience in the food service industry. Nicole serves LCI as a pantry chef charged with managing campus inventory. She has 2 sons and 6 miniature schnauzers. She was awarded the Jim Funk scholarship for both 2013 & 2014 and has had the honor of representing LCI as a chef at the Augusta Golf Club for the world renowned Master’s Golf Tournament for the past couple of years.

Patricia Johnson
Student Services Coordinator/Job Placement Officer

Patricia Johnson has transitioned to be the Louisiana Culinary Institute’s new Student Services Coordinator and Job Placement Officer.  Patricia’s core focus is genuinely student retention. She spearheads student resource initiatives to assist students during enrollment and beyond graduation.  Her extensive customer service management and foodservice industry experience has honed Patricia’s interpersonal communication skills, making her adept at discerning and accommodating current and potential student needs, as well as faculty and staff, needs. Additionally, Patricia is formally trained in Medical Assisting and has lived many years of her life in her mother’s native country, England.

Leah White- Resized 2 Leah Guillory White
Compliance Liaison & Director of Student Services

Leah Guillory White joined LCI in September of 2014. With more than 8 years of student support services experience, White is assisting with admissions, student services, administrative support,  curriculum development, and new project initiatives.  Her goal is to become an additional pillar of support to our students as they strive to reach their dreams with all of her efforts pointing towards the continued success of LCI. Leah has a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with a minor in Psychology from Louisiana State University as well as a MBA and Graduate Certificate in Human Resources from the University of Phoenix. Leah has experience working in higher education, management, small business development, employee engagement, workplace diversity, compliance, human resources, and youth advocacy.  She is excited about playing an important role in the success of our future culinarians.

Charlie Ruffolo
Director of Public Affairs

Charlie grew up in the suburbs of Chicago before moving to Baton Rouge in 2008.  He studied Business Administration at Minnesota State and Elmhurst College.  Growing up, he spent majority of his time working with his family’s produce distribution company, C. Ruffolo and Sons, on the Southwest side of Chicago.  Charlie received extensive training from Chicago International Produce Market (CIPM), including Sales, Management, Purchasing, Inventory, Accounting, and Customer Service.  Since 2008 he has handled the Public Affairs for the Louisiana Culinary Institute (LCI).  He has built a number of professional relationships and is always eager to create new ones.  LCI has some of the most talented culinary students and Charlie believes in showcasing their skills for the public.  Charlie also has experience working with local farmers, non- profits, chefs, hotels, restaurants, casinos, bakeries, Fortune 500 companies, corporations, schools, and local and national television/media production companies.  He also oversees and assists with Admissions, Job/Career Placement, and other Administrative functions.