Sclafani Cooking School

             Employment Opportunities that SCS Graduates are Experiencing:
                               Sclafani Cooking School’s Spotlight

Over the past 27 years, many of our Graduates have become “Shining Stars” in the Culinary profession. In this segment, we honor them by sharing their success stories. These stars began their successful culinary training and journey at Sclafani Cooking School, Inc.

                       Congratulations to some of our outstanding success of our graduates 

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James Nelson Joiner

James Nelson Joiner, better known as JJ, is a graduate of Sclafani Cooking School, Inc. Since Chef James’s graduation, he has become a research chef. He is well known nationwide as a cutting edge product development expert and consultant for many prominent manufacturers. Chef James has climbed the commercial cook and baker ladder to have earned the position of Corporate Executive Chef for several of the largest casino groups and an Executive Chef for one of the nation’s largest cafeteria chain.

Russell Green

Certified Executive Sous Chef Russell Green
Corporate Chef for Harrah's Casinos and Hotels

Chef Russell Green graduated from Sclafani’s Cooking School, Inc. in 1998. Chef Green’s dream was to start a career when he enrolled. he was hired by Harrah’s. While he worked at Harrah’s New Orleans, he put the knowledge and techniques learned at Sclafani Cooking School, Inc. to use daily. His skills and dedication did not go unnoticed by the Executive Chef and fellow employees. Chef Russell started getting promotions.

Then along came Hurricane Katrina. Just like everyone else in New Orleans, Chef Russell’s life was turned upside down, except for one important factor. He was a Sclafani Cooking School, Inc. trained commercial cook and baker. Harrah’s New Orleans transferred Chef Russell Green to Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino in Maricopa, Arizona. He has also achieved The 2006 Best of Class
Award from the Range Steakhouse.  

Chef Russell Green went from student to Certified Executive Sous Chef in less than 7 years. Chef Russell Green is working proof that dreams do come true with a proper foundation and hard work.


Dustin Palmisano
Owner and Executive Chef
The Old Coffee Pot Restaurant
New Orleans, LA
The Old Coffeepot Restaurant, New Orleans    


Dustin grew up cooking with his father on weekend camping trips. At the age of 10, he was assisting his father preparing home cooked meals at Azalea’s Bingo Hall. This was the start of a journey of passion for food and a desire to open a restaurant of his own.  


Chef Dustin Palmisano graduated from Sclafani Cooking School, Inc. in 2004. In just five short years, Chef Dustin has gone from being a young man in need of a career with a passion for food but no idea of how to marry the two to an executive chef. He saw an advertisement for Sclafani Cooking School, Inc. and decided to see what we were all about. According to Chef Palmisano, “That was the best decision of my career.”


Chef Dustin’s career, upon graduation, started as kitchen manager for Bear’s Grill in Mandeville, LA. His next stop on the way to the top was in a small dining restaurant in Kenner. This stop brought a promotion for him as Sous Chef. Dustin has always kept in touch with Sclafani’s Cooking School, Inc. and when a change of employment was in the air, Chef Dustin called the SCS and asked for help. This telephone call led to a position as Executive Chef of the “Old Coffee Pot Bistro” located on 714 St. Peters St. in the heart of the French Quarter in New Orleans, LA.


According to Chef Dustin, Sclafani Cooking School taught him not only the science of food and how to prepare it but also encouragement. Chef Dustin said, “They always encouraged me. I could always depend on them for sound advice throughout the years”.  Dustin grew up cooking with his father on weekend camping trips. At the age of 10, he was assisting his father preparing home cooked meals at Azalea’s Bingo Hall. This was the start of a journey of passion for food and a desire to open a restaurant of his own.  


Stephen Herbert

Owner/Chef Abita Springs Cafe

Abita Springs, LA

Chef Stephen graduated from Sclafani Cooking School, Inc. in 1999.  Since that time, He has become renowned for his “Angel Biscuits”. People come from all parts of the United States to sample these biscuits. Chef’s clientele includes those from all walks of life, from the neighbor next door to Television personalities. Chef Stephen has been highlighted in magazines.


The “Angel Biscuits” have made Chef Stephen famous and keeps the customers coming in for more; however, it was the techniques and Science he learned as a student at Sclafani Cooking School, Inc. that is Chef’s foundation. This knowledge has allowed him the ability to continually develop his own unique style of cooking and developing recipes.


Chef Stephen recently visited with the students of Sclafani Cooking School, Inc. He reinforced that the dream is attainable with a good foundation and dedication.


Pedro Wolcott

Executive Sous Chef


Long Beach, CA

January 5, 2004, saw a new graduate of Sclafani Cooking School, Inc. begin the journey into a new career. The journey began with a “Love to Cook” which fueled a daily commute from Picayune, MS to Metairie, LA everyday to attend class at SCS. There, Chef Pedro learned what it takes to become a commercial cook and baker. According to Pedro, the most important thing to him that he learned was the kitchen basics and the sauces.


The next stop on Pedro’s career journey after graduation was in Gulfport, MS at Harrah’s Casino in their seafood restaurant, Snapper Jack’s. There were also stops in Las Vegas at Voodoo Steak House at the Rio Casino, The Venetian/Palazzo Banquet Kitchen, and the Sushi Samba in Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, great, once in a life time chances happened for Pedro. He was able to take part in his first James Beard Foundation function and also work under a master chef from France, Chef Oliver Dubreil.


Today finds Executive Sous Chef Pedro in Long Beach, CA at a restaurant called Kavikas under the direction of Executive Chef David Keller.


When asked what advise would you give to new graduates of Sclafani Cooking School, Executive Pedro Wolcott responded that in this business you have to have tough skin. You have to have culinary creativity to try new cuisines and to infuse a little bit of it when you are cooking. Being trained and working under good chefs, you need to pay attention and take the best of what works with you. If you can do this, in the end, you can enjoy your culinary career. Enjoyment is the main ingredient of having fun at work.


Executive Sous Chef Pedro Wolcott is on his journey as a student from the Gulf of Mexico Area to becoming an Executive Sous Chef on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

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                                                                     713 Carrollton Ave.
 | Metairie, LA 70005
                                                               (504) 833-7861