Chef John Folse Culinary Institute to Honor the DeFelice Family at Dinner of the Century

THIBODAUX, La. — The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University invites you to a feast fit for a queen during their annual fundraiser Dinner of the Century on Tuesday, May 3. 

Nicholls students and faculty will pair with top chefs from Chef John Folse & Company to recreate a historic dinner at the Cotillion Ballroom inside of the Bollinger Student Union. The theme for the dinner is “A Joyful Magnificence Celebrating Catherine de Medici.” 

“This is the first Dinner of the Century since the pandemic began over two years ago. We are excited to be able to bring this unique culinary experience back to our community,” said Chef John Kozar, director of the culinary institute. “This historic menu is a mix of modern and antique dishes that include some of Catherine de Medici’s favorite treats, as well as some iconic items from Pascal’s Manale, all of which is created by our student chefs and the Chef John Folse team.” 

The evening’s menu is inspired by Catherine de Medici, Queen of France from 1547-1559 who has influenced much of the way we eat and think about food today. Born in Italy, she introduced many of the ingredients, recipes and culinary culture she grew up with to the French. 

In addition to the celebration of cuisine, the DeFelice Family of Pascal’s Manale Restaurant will be inducted 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. 

A family business from the beginning, the restaurant was first opened by Frank Manale in 1913. His nephew Pascal Radosta took over sole ownership in 1937 and later added his name creating the culinary institution we know today. It was Pascal’s youngest brother, Jake, who propelled the restaurant into worldwide fame when he created one of the most iconic New Orleans dishes, barbecue shrimp, in the 1950s. In 1988, Pascal’s youngest daughter, Virginia DeFelice, and her family purchased the restaurant and continued to operate it until November 2019.  

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

The menu for the evening includes Pascal’s Manale BBQ Shrimp and spinach and artichoke florentine on crostini as hors d’oeuvres. Carabaccia will be served as a soup. The salad is the Catherine Salad, with mixed greens, pecorino and capers. The entree is roast duck breast a l’orange and the dessert is a raspberry frangipane tart. 

Seafood for the evening is sponsored by Louisiana Seafood. 

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. Cocktail attire is recommended.

For more information or to reserve seats visit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, April 13, 2022

MEDIA CONTACT: Jerad David, Director of Communications, 985.448.4303 or

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