THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University and Delgado Community College are working together to brand south Louisiana as a culinary education destination.
At the inaugural Dinner of the Century fundraiser, scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday, March 23, officials from both institutions will sign a memorandum of understanding making it easier for culinary students to cross-enroll at Nicholls and Delgado, as well as to seamlessly transfer between both schools. Scholarships will also be created to help Delgado associate degree graduates continue their education by working toward a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls.
“The agreement is an indication of Nicholls’ support of recent educational and industry partnerships in New Orleans, and it will help establish south Louisiana as a premier international culinary and hospitality hub,” said Dr. Al Davis, dean of University College. “We have a lot in common with the New Orleans area, and our program, which completes the educational picture, is less than an hour’s drive away.”
The agreement will pave the way for future initiatives such as additional online classes for culinary students through Nicholls Online and the Delgado Community College Distance Learning Program, and the sharing of faculty and resources between the institutions.
Nicholls is the only university in Louisiana to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in culinary arts. At its founding in 1994, the culinary bachelor’s degree was the first of its kind at a public university in the United States. Delgado’s two-year program provides the technical skills necessary to enter the culinary and hospitality workforce, while Nicholls’ bachelor’s degree program builds on those skills to train students in business and restaurant management.
“We are looking for students who want to continue their culinary education and develop the skills that will allow them to succeed at the next level,” said Chef Randy Cheramie, executive director of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute.
Currently housing about 300 students, the institute is set to undergo an expansion with a new $12.6 million building scheduled to open for the spring 2015 semester.
The 33,000-square-foot building will house four teaching kitchens, a demonstration kitchen and a kitchen and dining room devoted to LeBistro, the institute’s student-run fine dining restaurant. Construction is expected to finish in October, and the institute will be able to enroll up to 600 students upon completion.