Chef John Folse Culinary Institute to Host Fundraiser Celebrating French Lineage of New Orleans Cuisine

THIBODAUX, La. — The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University invites you to to take a culinary walk through history at their annual fundraiser Dinner of the Century on Friday, May 10.

Nicholls students and faculty will pair with top New Orleans chefs to recreate a historic dinner at the Grand Ballroom of the Royal Sonesta in New Orleans.

This year’s theme is “The French Ancestry of New Orleans Cuisine,” which is a nod to the French royalty of the kitchen, who perfected the majesty and art of dining.

“It has become a tradition that we recreate a historic menu of the past,” said Chef John Folse. “This year, we will walk through the evolution of French cuisine that eventually made its way to La Nouvelle-Orléans.”

A cocktail reception will kick off the evening at 6 p.m. with dinner being served at 7 p.m.

The evening reception features favorite Louisiana hors d’oeuvres with French flair including daube glacée, crabe ravigote, terrine d’aubergine and canard fumé.

Catherine de Medici and her love of artichoke hearts inspired the opening of the five-course menu, coeurs d’artichauts farcis. François Pierre de la Varenne, who was known to have devised delicacies for the noblemen on the battlefield of the 1600s, inspired the capon and oysters soup course. The late 1700s saw women joining the rank and file of French kitchens, so the seafood course is attributed to Madame du Barry, who succeeded Madame de Pompadour as official chief mistress in the French Court of King Louis XV. The “Chef of Kings and King of Chefs,” Antonin Carême, is honored with the culinary institute’s presentation of his 1800s creation, braised shank of breton lamb with sauce espagnole. Auguste Escoffier inspires the dessert, pêches melba.  

Additionally, Drago Cvitanovich will be inducted posthumously into the Lafcadio Hearn Hall of Honor. The Lafcadio Hearn Award is given to culinary professionals who have had a long-term, positive influence on the cuisine and culture of Louisiana and the nation. Hearn, who died in 1904, wrote a series of books and articles that introduced New Orleans to the world and helped document Creole cuisine for future generations.

Drago, who passed away in 2017, opened the world-famous Drago’s in 1969 with his wife Klara. The couple was inducted into the Louisiana Restaurant Association Hall of Fame and received the Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award from New Orleans Wine and Food Experience.

Cvitanovich joins other influential chefs and restaurateurs in the Hall of Honor, including Ruth Fertel, Leah Chase, Ella Brennan, Frank Brigtsen, and T.J. Moran, among others.

Tickets are $250 per person, $3,000 for a 10-seat benefactor table or $5,000 for a 10-seat corporate table. Proceeds will go toward the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute Building Fund. Formal attire is required.

For additional information or to RSVP, visit or call (985) 493-2704.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or