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LCI Open House Event on Wednesday March 29th

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.

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 Major
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.

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.

Dustin Wesley Dustin Wesley
Career & Student Services Director

Dustin Wesley joined the LCI staff in October of 2016. He began cooking with his grandmother at a young age and his love for food and the culinary and hospitality industry has sprouted since. Dustin graduated from LCI with an Associate of Occupational Studies with a concentration in Advanced Culinary Arts. He returned to complete the Associate of Occupational Studies in Hospitality and Culinary Management. Dustin is committed to personal and industry growth. He is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts offered at LCI. As a former graduate of Louisiana Culinary Institute, along with over 8 years of experience in both the culinary and hospitality industries, Dustin has acquired many skills that he uses to motivate and enlighten our students. Dustin is the Career & Student Services Director at Louisiana Culinary Institute. Through his extensive management experience in foodservice and customer service industries, he has gained the leadership and communication skills to help guide current students and alumni. Dustin is responsible for Student Services, Job Placement, the Internship Program, and Career Services. He has an overall passion for restaurant management and the culinary industry. He is excited to play a vital role in the success and development of the future culinarians that will inherit the industry. He believes in our philosophy of “Producing World Class Chefs” and is eager to lead our students on the path towards success.

Mica Salter
Catering and Events Chef

Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Mica has lived in many states due to being in a military family. After moving back to Louisiana at the age of eight and growing up in Erwinville, Louisiana, Mica graduated from Louisiana Culinary Institute with an Associate of Occupational Studies with a concentration in Advanced Culinary Arts. Her interest in the culinary industry started at a very young age.  Mica had her first experience in the culinary industry through working with her mother and grandmother during summer breaks at school. In addition to having vast culinary experience, Mica also has several years of experience working in business management including sales, marketing, and human resources.   Mica has enjoyed working at several notable restaurants under talented chefs including, Nottaway Plantation as a banquette and Restaurant Chef and White Oak Plantation as the Executive Sous Chef for Chef John Folse Events and Revolutionary Catering.  These experiences helped develop her love and understanding of the culinary and hospitality industry. As the mother of three beautiful children, Kollin, Rylie, and Gracen, Mica strives to set a great example for them as a strong, talented professional chef. Mica also has the tremendous support of her loving husband of ten years, Nicholas Salter. LCI is excited to welcome Mica Salter back as the new Catering and Events Chef at LCI!

Christie Battaglia
Marketing and Events Cooordinator

Born in Dallas, Texas, Christie moved back to her family’s hometown of Baton Rouge at the age of two and has grown up here. She graduated from LSU earning a Bachelor of Science Degree with minors in Business, Communications, and Sociology, after completing two years at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) majoring in Recording Industry Management. Her interest in the entertainment industry began while working during college as an administrative assistant/production coordinator at the Varsity Theater, aiding in promotion of concerts and overseeing day of show artist needs, among other things. She also held numerous part time jobs waitressing and/or bartending at such diverse venues as J. Alexander’s in Baton Rouge and Coyote Ugly in Nashville, Tennessee. These experiences helped develop her love and understanding of the culinary and hospitality industry. While at LSU, Christie was a special events intern at Louisiana Business, Inc. (publisher of 225 Magazine, Baton Rouge Business Report, and InRegister) and, after graduation, was hired as the Marketing/Special Events Coordinator where she helped plan, organize, and produce such events as Forty Under 40, Hot Off the Press, MPAC, Movie Night BR, Baton Rouge Business Awards & Hall of Fame Gala, Best Places to Work Awards Breakfast, Top 100 Business Symposium and Luncheon, and the Influential Women in Business Awards Luncheon. Christie also served as the Marketing Director for Pearson’s Promotional Products and, most recently, Intelligent Mortgage. The “mother” of two Chihuahuas, Joey and Chandler, Christie loves to throw a good party, knows how to promote her clients, and has connections around the state. She is looking forward to serving as the Marketing and Event Coordinator at LCI!

Helen Baxter
Office Manager

LCI is excited to announce its newest addition to the team, Helen Baxter. Helen is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and has over 20 years of IT administrative experience. Helen enjoys juggling several responsibilities at LCI including assisting students and staff, leisure class registration, and acting as a liaison to all departments while located at the heart of the campus as the LCI office manager. Helen’s positive attitude, witty humor, and willingness to assist anyone in need is a reflection of her dedication to the success of LCI students. As the mother of 3 children and 2 calico tortoise shell kitties, Helen is a professional at handling everyone’s needs. LCI is proud to call her a part of the family.