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Nicholls culinary institute gets ready to “Double Down”

THIBODAUX – The 12th annual Bite of the Arts gala, Nicholls State University’s premier fundraising event for the John Folse Culinary Institute, is slated for Friday, Nov. 21, at Cypress Columns in Gray, La.

“It will certainly be a treat for all who attend,” said Dr. Alton Doody, dean of the John Folse Culinary Institute. “This year’s celebration, themed ‘Double Down,’ will highlight our phenomenal growth-evidenced by a freshman class that is double the size of the previous year. With such an expansion, our resources need to expand as well. I am therefore asking our supporters to double their commitments, so that we may continue to advance our program.”

Featuring recipes from various chefs and restaurants that have mentored Nicholls culinary students, the 2008 Bite of the Arts festivity will begin with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. Four reception stations will be accessible for sampling-including a Soup Station with Frank Brigtsen’s Butternut Shrimp Bisque and Donald Link’s Duck and Andouille Gumbo; a Charcuterie and Cheese Station with Assorted Cheeses, Danielle Boulud’s Game Bird and Foie Gras Pate and Tom Keller’s Chicken Liver Pate; a Cold Seafood Station featuring Commander’s Shrimp Remoulade, Westchester’s Oysters Mignonette and Grilled Marinated Vegetables; and a Hot Food Station with John Besh’s Jambalaya Stuffed Roasted Pig and John Folse’s Caramelized Onion Tart.

The dinner menu will include Duet of Lobster & Papaya Salad-a recipe by Certified Master Chef Ed Leonard of the Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y.- and a Braised Beef Short Rib with Caramelized Onion Demi-Glace Sauce, Duchess Potatoes and Fall Vegetable Medley-a recipe by Rick Tramonto of Restaurant TRU in Chicago, Ill. Guests are invited to enjoy an assorted dessert buffet as well.

In addition to fine dining, attendees can look forward to the annual live and silent auctions. Items up for bids include various works of art; cookware; restaurant packages from leading New Orleans establishments; a dinner with Chef Folse at the Bittersweet Plantation in Donaldsonville, La.; and several home-based dinners prepared by students and faculty of the John Folse Culinary Institute.

Corporate tables for 10 are currently being offered for $5,000. Priority seating is available at $150 per guest, and standard seating is $125 per guest. Wine will be served during the meal, and patrons seated at the corporate and priority levels will receive a commemorative event poster. Entertainment will be provided by a jazz combo of students from the Nicholls Division of Music.

“In terms of total contributions since the first Bite of the Arts gala in 1997, we anticipate this year’s event to approach the $1 million mark for culinary scholarships, equipment, faculty research and development,” Doody said. “I ask our supporters to help us continue this trend.”

To order tickets, contact the John Folse Culinary Institute at (985) 448-7114.

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