Chef John Folse Culinary Institute Plans Fundraiser

THIBODAUX — “Slow Food,” the theme of this year’s Bite of the Arts gala, the annual fundraising event that benefits the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University, will celebrate the traditional flavors of Louisiana’s culinary heritage.

In its 11th year, the event will begin with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 16, at Cypress Columns in Gray. Dinner will begin at 7 p.m.

This year’s theme will focus on the international culinary movement know as “Slow Food.” The opposite of fast food, “Slow Food” is dedicated to a future food system based on the principles of high quality and taste, environmental sustainability and social justice — in essence, a food system that is good, clean and fair.

“‘Slow Food’ is about eating it to save it, savoring the flavors of our Louisiana heritage so our local cuisine, products and recipes are not lost,” Randy Cheramie, interim dean of the institute, said. “The meal and the hors d’oeuvres served during the reception will highlight the many historically rich cultural influences that make Louisiana cuisine so unique, thereby helping us rediscover the flavors and savor of our amazing regional cooking.”

Among the dishes to be served during the cocktail reception are Marinated Grand Isle Oyster Shooters, Hog’s Head Cheese, Daube Glace, Marinated Blue Crab Claws, South Louisiana Ponce and Fried Wild Catfish Strips.

The tentative dinner menu will feature a Louisiana Pride Salad followed by Creole Surf and Turf. A buffet with an assortment of traditional Louisiana specialty desserts, including tea cakes, pralines and calas (rice beignets) will follow the meal.

Bayou Dixie Land will provide music for the event, which will include both silent and live auctions.

Live items to be auctioned include a dinner for 24 at either of Chef John Folse’s restaurants, Bittersweet Plantation or White Oak Plantation; a dinner for eight, prepared and served by the institute faculty in the winner’s home; and a dinner for eight, prepared and served by institute students in the winner’s home.

Since the first Bite of the Arts culinary gala in 1997, the event has raised about $700,000 for student scholarships, equipment and culinary faculty development and research.

Tables of 10 are available for $1,250 or $1,500, and individual tickets are $125 or $150. Wine and champagne will be served during the meal, and patrons seated at the higher priced level will also receive the 11th annual commemorative poster for the event.

For tickets or more information, contact the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at (985) 448-7114.