Sponsored Post: Meet the Next Generation of New Orleans’s Culinary ProtégésJBF Editors
December 30, 2015
In 2011 JBF Award winner Emeril Lagasse and the Emeril Lagasse Foundation donated $1.5 million for the opening of a culinary arts program in New Orleans. The program aimed to provide young aspiring chefs from all backgrounds and neighborhoods with the opportunity to train with industry professionals, gaining unparalleled experience and exposure at the high school level.
Four years later, the NOCCA Culinary Arts program is changing the traditional learning environment, pulling kids out of standard classrooms and inspiring them to create the culinary delicacies that New Orleans is so famous for. The program is one of many special tracks at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). Any student in the city can audition, which requires testing in weights and measures, basic knowledge of leading or mother sauces, stock making, and other fundamentals. Accepted candidates attend the school tuition-free, training with New Orleans’ leading master chefs and evaluated by professional standards.
Students cook, create, and manage the institution’s restaurant and on-site farm. In addition to “class time,” they are encouraged to “free-style” dishes of their choosing. The kitchen is always busy with white coats and hats, ideas, and exhilaration.
These young New Orleanians are learning to follow their passion at an early age and to pursue it at a level of professionalism that surpasses the standards of one of the most prominent culinary cities in the world.