Nicholls to Screen Documentary on Female Chefs

Nicholls State University recently announced that on March 26th it will screen a new award-winning documentary regarding Female Chefs by Joanna James, “A Fine Line: A Woman’s Place is in the Kitchen.”  Part of a national tour, and screening during National Women’s History Month, the acclaimed documentary highlights female chefs who make up only 7 percent of head chefs and restaurant owners. The film takes a deeper look at why this statistic exists, despite the high number of female culinary students.  “The ironic part about this discussion is that most culinary programs, like the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, have predominantly women enrollees, yet professionally those numbers don’t match,” said the Nicholls Culinary Department head, chef John Kozar. “That’s what the film is all about. What can we do, all of us together, to create a level playing field?”  Nicholls’ female to male ratio at the John Folse Culinary Institute is more than 65 percent female,” Kozar said.

Chef John Folse Culinary Institute: Female Chefs - Nicholls State University Logo

Hosted by The John Folse Culinary Institute housed at Nicholls University and emceed by Marcelle Bienvenu, culinary instructor and longtime New Orleans journalist, the event will include the presentation of a lifetime achievement award to New Orleans Chef, Author and television host Leah Chase, the Queen of Creole Cuisine and owner of Dooky Chase’s Restaurant.  

After the screening, there will be a discussion amongst a series of expert panelists, including some notable Nicholls alumnae and local chefs.  Among the panelists are: Kristen Essig, chef and owner of Coquette in New Orleans; Katie O’Hara, pastry chef at Mopho and Maypop in New Orleans; Anne Milneck, owner of Red Stick Spice Co. in Baton Rouge; and Samantha Love, assistant executive property chef at Caesars Entertainment Corp. in Baltimore, Maryland.

Kozar stated when interviewed, “We’re excited to be able to host this documentary.  Our enrollment at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute is more than 65 percent female, so we have made it a priority to showcase the success of our alumni and other women in the workforce. That’s why we started and continue the Empowered Women Chefs Series, which brings in successful female chefs to connect with our students.”

Founded in 1993 in response to the disparity outlined in Joanna James’s documentary, was the nonprofit organization The International Association of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs (WCR).  WCR includes membership of thousands of women, from culinary students, line cooks, pastry chefs, and executive chefs to educators, food writers, farmers, media professionals, and more. Their mission is to advance women across the culinary industry through education and connection.  They offer opportunities for professional development and mentorship. Their annual National Conference is held every spring, with the 2019 National Conference scheduled for Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota on April 27-29.

The conference will cover all aspects of the food and hospitality by offering class, speakers, and camaraderie. It celebrates the strength and success of women in the profession and hopes that women leave feeling inspired and revitalized.  If you’d like more information on WCR and/or the April conference, click here.

The Nicholls documentary screening will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the Mary and Al Danos Theater. Tickets are $40 for the cocktail reception, the screening and the panel, or $20 for the screening and the panel. To purchase tickets, click here.

The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute is named after famous Louisiana chef John Folse, acclaimed and award-winning Louisiana chef.  It was recently announced that it would be offering a series of Saturday cooking classes to the local community called Cooking With the Colonels.  Each class will include an orientation, cooking lessons, a family meal, and a tour of the Lanny D. Ledet Culinary Arts Building which is the facility that houses the Nicholl’s State on-campus Chef John Folse Culinary Institute.

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Nicholls Partners with Rouses For Community Cooking Courses

Nicholls recently announced that it would be partnering with Rouse’s Supermarkets to offer a series of cooking classes to the local community called Cooking With the Colonels.  Each class will be Saturdays throughout the year from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and include an orientation, cooking lessons, a family meal, and a tour of the Lanny D. Ledet Culinary Arts Building which is the facility that houses the Nicholl’s State on-campus Chef John Folse Culinary Institute.  

The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute is named after famous Louisiana chef John Folse.  Chef John Folse, born in St. James Parish in 1946, learned early that the secrets of Cajun cooking lay in the unique ingredients of Louisiana’s swamp floor pantry. Folse seasoned these raw ingredients with his passion for Louisiana culture and cuisine, and from his cast iron pots emerged Chef John Folse & Company.

When Folse opened Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant in 1978 in Donaldsonville, he set out to market his restaurant by taking “a taste of Louisiana” worldwide. He introduced Louisiana’s indigenous cuisine to Japan, Beijing, Hong Kong and Paris. In 1988, Folse made international headlines with the opening of “Lafitte’s Landing East” in Moscow and again when Folse became the first non-Italian chef to create the Vatican State Dinner in Rome. Later, the Louisiana Legislature gave him the title of “Louisiana’s Culinary Ambassador to the World.”

Folse’s Culinary Institute invites aspiring chefs with an adventurous palate and an insatiable desire to work in the food and service industries to pursue a Bachelor of Science or Associate of Science degree in culinary arts at Nicholls, currently the only post-secondary institution in Louisiana offering a four-year culinary degree.  They pride themselves on teaching their students about cuisine from around the world. However, their students are a step above others because of their knowledge of cajun and creole cuisine.

Each class will be taught by award winning chefs and teachers from the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute and will concentrate on complex Louisiana fare.  Currently, only the first three classes have been scheduled, the first for Saturday, Jan. 26. That class’s theme will be Louisiana’s natural resources and rich history.  Students will learn prepare dishes incorporating rabbit, oyster, and andouille gumbo; duck and pistachio terrine; wild boar osso bucco with polenta and glazed root vegetables; and riz au lait.  The next class, titled New Orleans Creole Table, will be held on  Saturday, Feb. 23 and participants will cook T’Frere’s turtle soup; oysters Marie Laveau; spit roasted creole leg of lamb; and strawberry creole cream cheese ice cream over pecan pound cake.  The third class is scheduled for Saturday, March 23, and students will veer towards Italian cuisine as they experiment with recipes from Tuscany and Florence like ribollita soup; bruschetta; pollo alla cacciatore; bistecca alla fiorentina; and biscotti.

Class size is limited to 16 students and you must be at least 16 years old to register. Requirements are long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and flat, non-slip, closed-toe shoes. Long hair should be pulled back and students should be prepared for a 2-3 hours of physical activity. Students will work on the recipes in groups of two to three.  Tools will be provided but students are encouraged to bring their own.

Registration for one costs $125, for a couple $200, and for a Rouses’ employee $100. Payment is due two weeks before the class. For more information or to register, visit www.nicholls.edu/continuing-ed/cooking-with-the-colonels/ or call the Office of Continuing Education at 448-4444.


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