Nicholls fundraising dinner features star chefs, celebrates new culinary facility

THIBODAUX — The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University invites food lovers to celebrate the best of Louisiana cuisine at its 16th annual Lafcadio Hearn Award Dinner and Distinguished Visiting Chef Series on Monday, March 4.

The evening will feature two of New Orleans’ acclaimed chefs: Lafcadio Hearn Award honoree Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace and distinguished visiting chef Chris Lusk of Restaurant R’evolution. This year’s event will also celebrate the groundbreaking of the culinary institute’s new facility, which will take place prior to the dinner. Thanks to state funds, private donations and fundraisers such as the Lafcadio Hearn dinner, a 33,000-square-foot culinary arts building will be constructed on the corner of Bowie Road and Highway 1, making it possible for the institute to boost its student enrollment and program offerings.

To honor McPhail and Lusk while also toasting to the culinary institute’s future, the festivities will begin with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. in the Cotillion Ballroom of the Bollinger Memorial Student Union, followed by a four-course meal.

The Lafcadio Hearn Award, which recognizes significant contributions to the culinary profession, will be presented to McPhail, executive chef at Commander’s Palace. A James Beard Rising Star Chef, McPhail started his career at the iconic New Orleans restaurant in 1993, working his way through all 12 stations of the kitchen. His critically acclaimed cuisine has led him to numerous television appearances and nominations for Best Chef South honors.

Lusk, the chef de cuisine at Restaurant R’evolution, will lead Nicholls culinary students in preparing dinner, which will include petit cochon parcel, bread and butter pickled shrimp, crispy red fish a la plancha and brown butter pound cake. Named one ofEsquire magazine’s “Four Breakout Chefs to Watch,” Lusk cooked under numerous chefs, including Mario Batali, before earning his Louisiana cooking stripes at Foodie’s Kitchen, Commander’s Palace and Café Adelaide.

Tickets are $150 per plate and must be purchased by Monday, Feb. 25. Proceeds benefit the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute. For reservations, call 985-449-7114 or email Tory McPhail

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