Bite of the Arts is the premier fundraising event for CJFCI held annually in November. Each year a different theme is chosen, highlighting Louisiana culture or one of the seven nations that formed Cajun/Creole Cuisine as we know today. Festivities begin with a cocktail reception and hors d’oeuvre, followed by a three-course dinner prepared by well-trained culinary students under the direction of a distinguished visiting chef. Special guest chefs and other key people in the food industry are also in attendance. All dishes are centered around the theme for that chosen year.
Lafcadio Hearn Dinners
Patrick Lafcadio Hearn was born in 1850 on the Ionian Island of Leucadia. At the age of 19, Hearn was sent to the United States in hopes that he could support himself. In November 1877, Hearn traveled to New Orleans aboard the steamboat, Thompson Dean, to write articles about Louisiana politics for publication in the Cincinnati Commercial newspaper. Upon spending time in New Orleans (and developing a passion for Creole food), he enjoyed it so much that he decided to move from Cincinnati to New Orleans and call it home. Believing there was money to be made in the restaurant business, Hearn lived in low-end apartments, cooked his own meals and hoarded the $100 needed for the initial investment.
Hearn started publishing cookbooks with his first one, “Gombo Zhebes,” in 1885. Hearn’s good friend and physician, Dr. Rudolph Matas and Matas’ wife, provided much of the background material Hearn needed for the book. Mrs. Matas was extremely helpful in providing recipes for Hearn’s “La Cuisine Creole,” also published in 1885. Other culinary books by Hearn include “Creole Cook Book: A Literary and Culinary Adventure” and Creole Sketches.”
Hearn was obviously enamored with the Creole city of New Orleans and found it imperative to document the history of the culture and cuisine of New Orleans and its evolution for future generations. Thus, he documented the fabulous Creole recipes of the day, and we at CJFCI at Nicholls State University follow the tradition by assuming his role in the 21st century.