The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute to rename student lounge in honor of Morgan City Restaurateurs

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The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute will rename the student lounge to the Gregory and Brenda Hamer Family/Taco Bell Student Lounge and Research Center in honor of Morgan City restaurateurs Brenda and Gregory Hamer Sr.

The couple donated $50,000 to the institute which will be used to purchase and maintain state-of-the-art kitchen and cooking equipment for students. The Hamer family said, “We feel that it is very important for us to support the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute and especially the students. It is exciting for us to know that not only are we currently able to assist the students but also that funds will be endowed to help strengthen the culinary institute for many years. Nicholls State University is an important asset to our region of the state. The culinary institute can bring additional recognition to Nicholls, and the vital part it plays in the lives of our region.”


The couple established B&G Food Enterprises in 1982 when they opened their first Taco Bell restaurant in Morgan City. Since then, they operate more than 150 Taco Bell Franchise locations.


Chef John Kozar, the department head and assistant culinary professor, said by supplying the students with the latest in culinary technology, they will be better prepared to enter the workforce when they graduate. He said, “The Hamer Family has long supported the culinary institute, and I cannot thank them enough for everything they have done for our students.” 


Gregory Hamer Sr. is the emeritus director of the National Restaurant Association and a past chairman of the National Restaurant Association Education Foundation. Also, he served as the President of the Louisiana Restaurant Association and was elected to the LRA Hall of Fame in 2002. The couple’s son, Gregory Hamer Jr., graduated in the first Chef John Folse Culinary Institute graduating class. For more information on the institute, visit