Photo of Janice ProvostJanice Provost

El Centro Food and Hospitality Institute Alumna
Owner and Executive Chef, Parigi

By her own admission, restaurant owner and executive chef Janice Provost was raised to give back. “Since I was a child, I have been taught to give back to the community,” she says.  “When I was around 10 years old, my mother would take me to retirement homes, and I would play the piano for the residents.  My mom was very involved with volunteering for different organizations, and I think it’s something I learned from her.”

Janice was hired to work at Parigi while a culinary student at El Centro, and three years later bought the neighborhood bistro on Oak Lawn in Dallas. She created the Parigi Scholarship Endowment fund through Dallas College Foundation and has helped raise more than $1,000,000 in scholarships for culinary students, including those at El Centro. “The Parigi Scholarship Endowment Fund allows me to pay it forward to future generations of students who have the same passion for this wonderful industry,” she says.

Culinary Training for At-Risk-Youth

Janice and fellow chef Chad Houser also co-founded Café Momentum, a Dallas-based nonprofit restaurant and culinary training facility for at-risk youth. “There is a restaurant in New Orleans called Café Reconcile that a friend had told me about,” she says.  “It teaches people who want to help themselves about the inner workings of a restaurant from the front of the house to the back of the house, so they can become employable after graduating.”

That concept of using restaurant training to drive life changes came to mind after Janice and Chad took a tour of the Dallas County Youth Village, a juvenile detention facility for teenage boys. “While on the tour, we met some of the young men and learned of the different programs that were offered to them, including cooking and gardening classes.  On the drive back, we talked about how we could help them, and the idea of a restaurant emerged.”

Photo of Janice Provost with Parigi staff at ECC Bits Bites
Janice Provost with Parigi staff at El Centro 
Bits and Bites event.

Café Momentum partners with Dallas County Youth Village and the Dallas County Juvenile Justice Department to teach at-risk adolescents life and job skills that can break the cycle of violence and crime that many have faced.

Janice serves on the advisory board for Letot Girls Residential Treatment Center, where she volunteers as a culinary instructor for the North Texas Food Bank, teaching students the basics of cooking. The young women will have the opportunity to pursue a career in the hospitality industry by working at Café Momentum. An advisory board member and past president of the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, she is also a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, a philanthropic society mentoring women in the culinary profession.

“El Centro taught me things I use every day,” says Janice. “From the basics of the mother sauces to conversions of recipes, the classes gave me real, usable information that allow me to create menus with balanced flavors and execute dishes with confidence. The Parigi Scholarship Endowment Fund is a way for me to show my appreciation for the school that taught me so much.”


— Janice Provost