Media Contact:
Elizabeth Hover




Metairie, LA- The National Restaurant Association Education Foundation (NRAEF) has named Steven Oubre of Woodlawn High School the winner of the 2017 ProStart® Educator of Excellence Award for outstanding achievement in high school culinary and restaurant management education. Selected from the 2017 ProStart Educator of Excellence Award winners, the NRAEF and Golden Corral Corporation are also proud to announce that the 2017 recipient of the James H. Maynard Excellence in Education Award is Steven Oubre of Woodlawn High School (Louisiana). Established over a decade ago as a tribute to Golden Corral's founder, James Maynard, the James H. Maynard Excellence in Education Award honors two select ProStart educators for their tireless dedication to providing remarkable experiences to their ProStart students. Oubre received a plaque and a gift of $5,000, presented by Judy Irwin, Vice President of Human Resources and Training for Golden Corral, and Lance Trenary, President and CEO of Golden Corral, at a special gala dinner.

ProStart is a nationwide, two-year program for high school students that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow's industry leaders. From culinary techniques to management skills, ProStart's industry-driven curriculum provides real-world educational opportunities and builds practical skills and a foundation that will last a lifetime.

Oubre, Woodlawn High School ProStart's instructor since 2010, received the James H. Maynard Excellence in Education Award at the NRAEF gala in Chicago, Illinois on May 18. He was nominated by the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation (LRAEF) and stood among 42 nominated culinary and restaurant management educators from across the nation.

"As a past LRA Chairman and now, Chair of the NRA Educational Foundation, it was a pleasant surprise to have a Louisiana ProStart educator win the National Educator of Excellence Award," said Gregory Hamer Sr. "This award is such a huge honor and I'm happy to see it go to someone so deserving."

Under Oubre's direction, Woodlawn High School has one of the biggest ProStart programs in Louisiana. Many of his students have earned the National ProStart Certificate of Achievement (COA), and he has helped 115 students earn the ServSafe Food Safety Manager credential over the past three years. His students have competed in the Louisiana ProStart Student Invitational every year, and in 2017, his students competed in both the culinary and management competitions.

Oubre is a mentor to his fellow ProStart educators as well as to his students. He's highly regarded for his positivity and realism while teaching his students how to apply their ProStart curriculum to the real world.

"It is still surreal to me that I received this award. There are over 1,800 programs around the U.S., Guam, and Europe, so to even be nominated at the state level is a huge honor," said Oubre. "I feel as though I do not deserve this honor because I simply do my job to the best of my ability. It gives me pride to help my students become more than what they are and show them value of doing the best they can."

The LRAEF, a 501 (c)3 non-profit organizationexists to enhance the restaurant community through expanded educational and career opportunities, the formation of strategic partnerships and the elevation of professional standards and practices. If you would like to make a donation, please contact Alison Greffenius, or (504) 210-2505.

The 2017 LRAEF Annual Partners and Sponsors include: Acme Oyster House, Auto-Chlor Services, Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, Louisiana Restaurant Association, National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, Performance Foodservice Caro, Atmos Energy, Baton Rouge Epicurean Society, Ben E. Keith Co., Delaware North, Ecolab, Louisiana Culinary Institute, Besh Restaurant Group, Louisiana Gas Association, Capitol City Produce, Centerplate, Coca-Cola, Community Coffee, Freeman Decorating, and the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. The LRAEF would also like to thank the nine chapters of the LRA for their support throughout the year.

*Photo attached: From left to right: Rob Gifford, EVP of the NRA Educational Foundation, Lance Trenary, President/CEO of Golden Corral Corp., Judy Irwin, VP of HR & Training at Golden Corral Corp., Steven Oubre, and Gregory Hamer Sr., 2017 NRAEF Chair.


ProStart is a registered trademark of the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation.

ProStart is a two-year, culinary management program for high school juniors and seniors with a curriculum designed to teach students culinary techniques as well as restaurant management skills. ProStart is in 60 high schools statewide and more than 1,600 students participate in the program.

The Louisiana Restaurant Association is one of the largest business organizations in the state, representing restaurant operations and related businesses. The restaurant industry in Louisiana is one the state's largest employer, providing jobs to over 204,000 residents. Restaurants in Louisiana are expected to generate sales of $8.9 billion in 2017. Get up-to-date news about the LRA and the restaurant industry from