New Orleans, pronounced “nawlins” by natives, offers America’s most celebrated native cuisines: Creole and Cajun, which non-natives can translate loosely as city and country cooking, but the cooking styles blur the lines and prove more complex than simple definitions could explain. Hurricane Katrina caused considerable upheaval in a city that resists change and celebrates its historical charm and cooking traditions that were common before the Revolutionary War.
Culinary Scene Rises from the Flood Waters
Restaurants and generous chefs helped to address widespread hunger and begin rebuilding the city prized for its food. New Orleans now has more restaurants than before the flood, but some critics worry that the grand cooking traditions might get lost with new technologies, food trends and modern commitments to healthier eating. Culinary students have opportunities to shape the city’s culinary direction, and restaurants are desperate for trained cooks who can patiently make dark or black roux, incorporate the Cajun method into creative menu items and transform butter, nuts, milk and sugar into mouth-watering pralines.
1. Delgado Community College—Culinary Arts & Hospitality
The school prepares students to face the challenges of industry chefs, especially problems of focus in New Orleans culinary direction after rebuilding. Students learn to meet high standards of professionalism, train to upgrade their skills for restaurant advancement and qualify for middle-management positions in the food industry.
- Students can concentrate on certificates or Culinary Arts degrees.
- Teaching standards conform to guidelines issued by the American Culinary Federation Foundation.
- The Pastry Arts certificate helps students find jobs in pastry shops, bakeries, hotels and restaurants.
- Catering jobs are on the rise, and students learn to plan menus, market services and implement catering jobs on and off the premises.
2. Louisiana Technical College
The Culinary Arts program offers solid training within the technical-training options available at many campus locations throughout the state of Louisiana. Campus locations include New Orleans, Metairie, Slidell, Lake Charles, West Monroe, Ruston, Plaquemine, Shreveport, Cottonport and Lafayette. The schools offer certificates and associates degrees.
3. The Culinary Institute Of New Orleans
This school focuses on specialty cooking with hands-on kitchen training. Established in 1984, the school teaches students to use sustainable fresh produce, herbs, game and seafood to create incredible fusions of New Orleans cooking influences.
- Students get training as line cooks, patissiér, sous chefs, garde mangér and executive chefs.
- The school offers support for New Orleans traditions and new cooking styles.
- Students get comprehensive guidance and financial support.
Other Cooking Schools
- The University of New Orleans offers degree programs in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Restaurant and Hotel management and Tourism development.
- Located in Suburban Metairie, the Sclafani Cooking School offers practical training in culinary arts, personal food service management, and baking science. The accelerated program provides for weeks of intensive training to get students ready for immediate job placement.
- The New Orleans School of Cooking offers team-building exercises, cooking demonstrations, entertaining classes and historical lagniappe in the heart of the French Quarter or Vieux Carré.
- The Culinaria Cooking School teaches fundamentals of cooking and presentation for amateur and professional cooks. Theme-based classes demonstrate international cooking techniques.
The Big Easy Faces Tough Times with Resilience
Lagniappe means “a little something extra” in New Orleans. These resources should help students find training schools on the Gulf Coast. New Orleans job placement should prove very advantageous to applicants because the area needs trained chefs to preserve traditions like gumbo and etouffée and to use the area’s productive harvests of produce and seafood in exciting new ways.