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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Top Two Louisiana Chefs That Have Stood the Test of Time

Louisiana Travel has compiled a list of their Top 10 Louisiana chefs and the list is nothing to blink your eyes at.  Louisiana is known for our unique foods and exquisite restaurants that rank in the upper echelon of the entire world, so to make it among the best of the best is a true honor.  We wanted to give homage to the chefs that make it all possible. Chefs are the behind-the-scenes magic makers with complex palates that require creative, out-the-box thinking, and maintenance of close-knit, local relationships with food distributors, farmers, and the like.  Their job descriptions are varied and far-reaching, including being business savvy, working well under pressure, managing line cooks and servers, hobnobbing with local entrepreneurs and business owners, all while creating the next best dish for the customer. It’s harder to remain a chef than to become one- the industry’s cutthroat competitive nature is made even more difficult by the sheer rate of restaurants popping up every year, every month.  Only the good ones survive, and we have compiled a list of the Top 2 Louisiana chefs that have stood the test of time.

1.    Emeril Lagasse

Emeril is probably one of the most widely known Louisiana chefs as his resume includes Television Personality and even Author.  Chef Emeril Lagasse’s passion for food was ignited as a young boy growing up in the small town of Fall River, Massachusetts, where he spent time in the kitchen with his mother, Hilda. As a teenager, he worked at a Portuguese bakery where he mastered the art of bread and pastry baking. After high school, Lagasse turned down a full scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music to pursue his dream of becoming a chef. He earned a degree from the respected culinary institution, Johnson and Wales University, and later received an honorary doctorate degree. Wanting to broaden his culinary horizons, Lagasse then traveled to France where he honed his skills and learned the art of classic French cuisine. Returning to the United States, Lagasse practiced his art in fine restaurants in New York, Boston and Philadelphia until a job offer from Dick and Ella Brennan lured the young chef to New Orleans, where Lagasse helmed the kitchen for nearly eight years at their legendary restaurant, Commander’s Palace.


In 1990, Lagasse set out on his own, opening Emeril’s Restaurant in New Orleans’ Warehouse District. Two years later, he opened NOLA Restaurant in the French Quarter. In 1995, Emeril brought his “New New Orleans” cooking to Las Vegas and opened Emeril’s New Orleans Fish House, located in the MGM Grand Hotel. In 1998, Lagasse opened Emeril’s Delmonico in New Orleans’ historic Garden District. He opened two restaurants in 1999 including Emeril’s Orlando at Universal Studios CityWalk and Delmonico Steakhouse in the Venetian Resort, Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. He later opened his first restaurant in the Northeast, Emeril’s Chop House on May 22, 2009 at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, and Lagasse’s Stadium, a restaurant and sports entertainment venue opened on September, 25 2009 at The Palazzo. He opened his first-ever burger restaurant, Burgers And More by Emeril, in 2009 at the Sands Bethlehem. In 2016, Lagasse opened Emeril’s Fish House, making this the third restaurant by Emeril at the Sands Bethlehem. Currently, Lagasse is the chef-proprietor of 12 restaurants in New Orleans, Las Vegas, Orlando, Miramar Beach and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Lagasse’s 11th restaurant, Meril, opened in New Orleans in September 2016. Most recently he opened his 12th restaurant, Emeril’s Coastal Italian, in Miramar Beach, Florida.

2.    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 traveled all over the world bringing tastes of Louisiana with him.  He introduced Louisiana’s indigenous cuisine to Japan in 1985, Beijing in 1986 and Hong Kong and Paris in 1987. In 1988, Folse made international headlines with the opening of “Lafitte’s Landing East” in Moscow during the Presidential Summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. In 1989, Folse was the first non-Italian chef to create the Vatican State Dinner in Rome.


The international success of Folse’s cornerstone property, Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant, spawned the incorporation of several other Chef John Folse & Company properties. White Oak Plantation in 1986 established Folse’s catering and events management division. Chef John Folse & Company Publishing, since 1989, has produced 9 cookbooks in his Cajun and Creole series, plus a novel, two children’s books and a religious memoir by other authors. “A Taste of Louisiana” is Folse’s international television series produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting since 1990. The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La., opened in October 1994 and is dedicated to the preservation of Louisiana’s rich culinary and cultural heritage.  In 2014 a brand new facility was built for the program.

In August 1996, Folse expanded his professional repertoire and began broadcasting his radio cooking talk show, “Stirrin’ It Up” which eventually turned into a television cooking segment.


The bakery division was launched in 1996 to create specialty desserts, pastries and savories. In October 1998, a fire destroyed the 200-year-old Viala Plantation, which housed Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant, and in May 1999 Folse opened his former Donaldsonville home as Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant at Bittersweet Plantation offering fine dining and bed and breakfast accommodations. In the year 2000, Folse incorporated Digi-Tek Productions, a full service digital recording studio.

Folse has received numerous national and international accolades including but not limited to: In 1987, the Louisiana Restaurant Association named him “Louisiana Restaurateur of the Year.” In 1989, Nation’s Restaurant News inducted Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant into its “Fine Dining Hall of Fame.” In 1990, the American Culinary Federation (ACF) named Folse the “National Chef of the Year.”  In 1995, Folse was one of 50 people recognized in Nation’s Restaurant News’ “Profiles of Power.” In 1999, the Research Chefs Association (RCA) named Chef John Folse & Company “Pioneers in Culinology” because of the efforts of Folse and his culinary research team. In 2001, Folse was elected to RCA’s Board of Directors and served as RCA president from 2005-2007. In 2006, Folse was inducted into National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s College of Diplomates.  In 2007, Folse served as the American Judge for the Bocuse d’Or World Cuisine Contest in Lyon, France.

In August 2010, Folse announced his partnership with Chef Rick Tramonto and the formation of Home on the Range: Folse Tramonto Restaurant Development, LLC. Their first joint venture, Restaurant R’evolution, opened in June of 2012 at 777 Bienville St. at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans. Restaurant R’evolution offers modern, imaginative reinterpretations of classic Cajun and Creole cuisine.

More than thirty years of culinary excellence later, Folse is still adding ingredients to the corporate gumbo he calls Chef John Folse & Company, which is as diverse as the Louisiana landscape, and he would not want it any other way.


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Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls is the Only 4 year Program in the State

 

As stated recently on their twitter page, Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls University is the only four year culinary program offered in the state of Louisiana. This state of the art facility opened in 2015 with Mr. Arlen “Benny” Cenac Jr. as one of the major fund building contributors.

With world famous Chef John Folse as the Certified Executive Chef, this four year program boasts some of the newest and up to date culinary equipment. For more information on program and institute, you can visit their website here.