$32 M Culinary School Breaks Ground In New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS – A $32 million culinary school has broken ground on Howard Avenue.

The New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) is set to be complete in 2019 and will provide a culinary school with five dedicated teaching kitchens, a beverage lab for wine and spirits programs, and an event center with its own showcase catering kitchen and terraces with views of downtown New Orleans.

The entire space, designed by Eskew+Dumez+Ripple architecture firm, encompasses 93,00 square feet in a five-story historic building.

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The project is a joint partnership between for NOCHI and Tulane University, which will offer programs in hospitality entrepreneurship at the center. The space will include a classrooms, offices and a retail café space on the ground level.

NOCHI was co-founded in 2013 by Ti Adelaide Martin, co-proprietor of The Commander’s Family of Restaurants; restaurateur Dickie Brennan  and George Brower, tax credit specialist and developer of the Saenger Theatre and La Petit Theatre in New Orleans. 

NOCHI is already licensed by the State of Louisiana’s Board of Regents to offer rigorous, hands-on post-secondary certificate programs in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts developed in conjunction with CIA Consulting. NOCHI plans to announce additional training partnerships and programs after the institute opens.

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With 650 hours of instruction provided in just twenty weeks’ time, NOCHI’s programs are designed to provide a greater return on investment of time and money for aspiring chefs seeking higher wage jobs in the industry.

“This is what the New Orleans hospitality industry has always dreamt of,” says Martin. “NOCHI is where culinary and hospitality careers will begin, where business minds will be nourished, and where we’ll teach the New Orleans brand of hospitality and fun.” 

The new institute was made possible with the support of the North American Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers (NAFEM) providing equipment for the facility, a commitment from Tulane University to launch new programs in hospitality entrepreneurship at NOCHI and a 2017 cooperative endeavor agreement with the Ernest N. Morial New Orleans Exhibition Hall Authority.

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NOCHI closed on additional financing from Fidelity Bank, IBERIABANK, Enhanced Capital, and United Fund Advisors last week. The successful closing of the project’s financing fully funds the renovation of NOCHI’s space in New Orleans’ Central Business District already under way by Woodward Design+Build, general contractor for the project.

Culinary Business Seminar Announced for Jan. 13

The National Food and Beverage Foundation (NatFAB) will host “Financial Resources for Your Culinary Business,” a seminar focused on the tools, resources, and innovative strategies available to New Orleans culinary start-ups and small businesses.

The seminar is designed to encourage food businesses in New Orleans’ culinary landscape and offer educational business training for the next generation of culinary professionals.

During the seminar, a panel of presenters will showcase the financial strategies and resources available for emerging chefs and culinary entrepreneurs. Following a general panel discussion, participants will be able to sign up for brief one-on-one consultations with representatives from the presenting organizations.

Sponsored by the Paul C. P. McIlhenny Culinary Entrepreneurship Program, the session will take place Saturday, January 13 from 1-4 p.m. at the Rouses Culinary Innovation Center inside of the Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFAB).

The kitchen can be accessed through its own door at 1830 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, or through the SoFAB Museum, located at 1504 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard in New Orleans. For more information, visit https://natfab.org/10-years-of-sofab/ or call (504) 569-0405.

-By Jenny Peterson, Associate News Editor, Biz New Orleans

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