Nicholls, Chef John Folse Culinary Institute Open Ledet Culinary Arts Building

Ledet Building Grand Opening
Nicholls State University and Chef John Folse Culinary Institute administrators and faculty, along with state and local officials, gather Aug. 20 to celebrate the grand opening of the Lanny D. Ledet Culinary Arts Building, the new home of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, during a ceremonial ribbon cutting at the new building on the Nicholls campus in Thibodaux. Pictured (from left): Louisiana Rep. Lenar Whitney; Nicholas Cole, education policy adviser for the Office of Gov. Bobby Jindal, Tommy Eschete, mayor of Thibodaux; Randy Cheramie, spokesman and instructor for the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute; Dr. Sandra Woodley, president of the University of Louisiana System; Nicholls President Dr. Bruce Murphy; Chef John Folse; Arlen “Benny” Cenac Jr., Ledet Building benefactor and Nicholls Foundation board member; Louisiana Sen. Norby Chabert; the Rev. André Melancon, pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church; and Lanny Ledet’s four sons: Aaron, Brett, Justin and Blake. Photo by Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University celebrated the grand opening of the state-of-the-art Lanny D. Ledet Culinary Arts Building, the new home of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, during a public gathering and ribbon cutting held today at the Ledet Building on the Nicholls campus.

The opening of the new 33,000-square-foot culinary facility is the culmination of a three-year, $12.6 million project designed to double enrollment at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute and provide Nicholls culinary students with advanced equipment and cutting-edge technology that will simulate culinary and hospitality industry working environments. The Ledet Building is equipped with six kitchens, three classrooms and a dedicated student study area. It is also the home of student-operated Bistro Ruth, a 96-seat restaurant named in honor of New Orleans restaurateur Ruth Fertel. Complete with a private Chef’s Table that seats six and President’s Dining Room that seats 12, Bistro Ruth offers elegant dinner service inspired by global culinary traditions and menus.

“We’ve waited such a long time for this,” said Chef Randy Cheramie, spokesman and instructor at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute. “How thrilling it truly is to finally have a first-class, state-of-the-art facility in which to teach not only classical cooking skills and food service management practices but also to have this wonderful space in which to teach the history and tradition of South Louisiana culture and cuisine.”

The Ledet Building grand opening featured remarks by Nicholls President Bruce Murphy, Chef John Folse, Nicholls culinary faculty and students, and state and local officials.

“What a spectacular day for culinary education in America, and certainly for Louisiana,” said Folse, chairman of the Board of Advisers for the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute. “I had the pleasure this past Monday to teach for the first time in our new Lanny Ledet Culinary Building, with its magnificent kitchens, state-of-the-art equipment and technology, and beautiful Bistro named for a good friend, Ruth Fertel. I asked the group of about 100 students, ‘Do you all realize the uniqueness of the culinary program that you have chosen to entrust with your education?’ Because this culinary program at Nicholls State University is indeed a most special program.”

The grand opening also included a remembrance of the late Lanny Ledet, the building’s namesake and Nicholls business alumnus who worked in both culinary and hospitality operations at Golden Ranch Plantation in Gheens for over 25 years.

The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute opened in 1995 as the only four-year culinary arts degree program in Louisiana. The institute currently employees 13 industry-based faculty and staff and enrolls about 300 students from across the nation and globe.

To learn more about the Ledet Building and the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, click here.

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