Nicholls breaks ground on culinary facility

Pictured, from left, are Tommy Eschete, mayor of Thibodaux; Matthew Jewell, president of the Nicholls Student Government Association; Charlotte Randolph, president of Lafourche Parish; Chef Randy Cheramie, executive director of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute; Jimmie “Beau” Martin, member of the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors; state Sen. Norby Chabert of Houma; Dr. Stephen Hulbert, Nicholls president; Donald “Boysie” Bollinger, chairman of the Nicholls Foundation board; Dr. Donald Ayo, past Nicholls president; Chef John Folse, chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute; Robert Barham, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana; Dr. Sandra Woodley, president of the University of Louisiana System; Jay Dardenne Jr., lieutenant governor of Louisiana; Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board; state Rep. Lenar Whitney of Houma; Michel Claudet, president of Terrebonne Parish; state Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard of Thibodaux; state Rep. Gordy Dove of Houma; Randy Fertel, president of the Ruth U. Fertel Foundation; and Chef Leah Chase, owner of Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans.
Pictured, from left, are Tommy Eschete, mayor of Thibodaux; Matthew Jewell, president of the Nicholls Student Government Association; Charlotte Randolph, president of Lafourche Parish; Chef Randy Cheramie, executive director of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute; Jimmie “Beau” Martin, member of the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors; state Sen. Norby Chabert of Houma; Dr. Stephen Hulbert, Nicholls president; Donald “Boysie” Bollinger, chairman of the Nicholls Foundation board; Dr. Donald Ayo, past Nicholls president; Chef John Folse, chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute; Robert Barham, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; Bobby Jindal, governor of Louisiana; Dr. Sandra Woodley, president of the University of Louisiana System; Jay Dardenne Jr., lieutenant governor of Louisiana; Ewell Smith, executive director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board; state Rep. Lenar Whitney of Houma; Michel Claudet, president of Terrebonne Parish; state Rep. Jerome “Dee” Richard of Thibodaux; state Rep. Gordy Dove of Houma; Randy Fertel, president of the Ruth U. Fertel Foundation; and Chef Leah Chase, owner of Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans.

THIBODAUX — To continue expanding its unique culinary arts program, Nicholls State University broke ground on a new 33,000-square-foot facility for the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute on Monday, March 4. An impressive group of supporters — including Gov. Bobby Jindal, Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne Jr., Chef John Folse, legislators, community leaders, accomplished chefs and culinary students participated in the festivities.

“For many of us affiliated with the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, it’s a long-awaited, eagerly anticipated, dream-come-true day,” said Chef Randy Cheramie, executive director of the institute. “As of right now, our faculty teach about 300 culinary majors in about 9,000 square feet of space. This new facility will afford us 33,000 square feet of state-of-the art teaching kitchens and classrooms along with a beautiful restaurant kitchen, dining room and demonstration center.”

The $12.6 million facility, which will be located on the corner of Highway 1 and Bowie Road, will allow the program to grow in size — by accommodating about 500 students — and in scope — by expanding its course offerings. Construction on the commercial-style building is expected to begin in May with the facility opening within two years.

The project is being funded through a public-private partnership with $8.1 million coming from state funds and Nicholls generating the remaining $4.5 million through private donations. Jindal said the state committed its support because of the institute’s potential to help grow the economy and carry on Louisiana’s rich culinary heritage.

“This new facility will help us in our mission to teach future generations about the art of Cajun and Creole cooking,” Jindal said. “At the same time, we’ll give students the tools to find job opportunities in the hospitality industry. This institute also benefits companies within the hospitality industry who need a pipeline of skilled workers to fill their jobs. Today’s groundbreaking is truly a win-win-win for our students, our restaurant industry and our state.”

The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute was an idea born over bowls of gumbo at Lafitte’s Landing in Donaldsonville, where Folse and former Nicholls president Donald Ayo envisioned a program that would preserve and advance Louisiana cuisine. The institute began offering classes in 1995 and became the first four-year culinary degree program in a U.S. public university in 1997.

Nicholls summer camp registration now open

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University’s Office of Continuing Education has opened registration for its dozens of summer camps — all designed to help parents keep their children’s brains and bodies active throughout their summer break.

Options include daylong camps for the entire summer as well as weeklong camps for parents to pick and choose from. The schedule includes academic-based camps (focused on academic enrichment and science); sports camps (in basketball, soccer, cheerleading, karate and dance); and creative camps (centered on art, magic/balloon tricks and performing arts). Sure to be popular this summer, the Performing Arts Camp will be putting on Disney Channel’s popular High School Musical Jr. with participants serving as singers, actors and dancers. All camps are taught by certified teachers and professionals in their field.

Three new camps have been added to this summer’s schedule. The Rock-n-Roll Summer Camp will help aspiring musicians learn the roles of artist, promoter, manager and production assistant while preparing for a live concert. The Kids Culinary Camp will teach students food preparation skills as they create tasty dishes in campus culinary kitchens. And, the Youth Fitness & Fun Camp will focus on how to live healthier — including exercising, making better food choices when dining out and cooking popular foods in healthier ways.

To learn more about summer camp options and register for camps, visit nicholls.edu/continuing-ed or call 985-448-4444.

Swamp Stomp Festival scheduled for March 22-24 at Nicholls

Swam Stomp 2013-FINALTHIBODAUX — Nicholls State University will host the fifth annual Louisiana Swamp Stomp Festival, a musical celebration of south Louisiana culture, from Friday, March 22, through Sunday, March 24. Locals and visitors are invited to experience regional music, food, history and art at the campus festival, which has been named one of March’s “Top 20 events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Musical talents scheduled to perform this year include Treater, Don Rich, Horace Trahan and the Ossun Express, Waylon Thibodeaux, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys, Junior LaCrosse, Bruce Daigrepont, Foret Tradition, Ryan Brunet and The Malfecteurs, Lafayette Rhythm Devils and Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie. Free Zydeco dance lessons will be offered an hour before the first band starts playing each day.

The festivities will take place in the parking lot adjacent to John L. Guidry Stadium. Admission is $10 per day, $25 for the weekend and free for children 12 and younger. Tickets will be available at the gates, which open at 3:30 p.m. on Friday and 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For the complete festival schedule, visit nicholls.edu/swamp-stomp

New to this year’s festival will be the Jumbo Gumbo Cook-Off on Saturday, March 16, as well as a 5K Can-Can and 1-mile White Boot Waddle on Saturday, March 23. On Friday, March 22, Nicholls will once again host Tresors du Bayou, a free program featuring local artists, historians and craftspeople. The swamp pop band Treater will perform while dance instructors teach guests the Cajun Waltz, Cajun Two-Step and Cajun Jitterbug. The event will end with a free concert featuring Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys. Details are available at nicholls.edu/swamp-stomp

The Louisiana Swamp Stomp Festival is part of the 15th annual Jubilee: A Festival of the Arts and Humanities, which is held every spring on the Nicholls campus. For a full schedule of Jubilee events, visit nicholls.edu/jubilee

The 2013 Louisiana Swamp Stomp Festival is supported by a Community Partnership Grant from the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation Inc.; a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Houma Regional Arts Council; a grant from the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium for LUMCON’s Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program; Lafourche Parish, Louisiana Tourism Recovery Program; Peltier Foundation; T. Baker Smith; John Bowie – B&D Contracting Inc.; Louisiana Lottery Corporation; Jubilee; PRO-NSU; Thibodaux Regional Medical Center; Gulf Island Fabrication Inc.; A&G Refrigeration; Buquet Distributing; Entergy; and others. For a full list of sponsors, visit nicholls.edu/swamp-stomp/sponsors