$12.6 million culinary arts building offers recipe for cooking up new La. chefs

Three years in the works, Nicholls State University (NSU) celebrated the grand opening of the $12.6 million Lanny D. Ledet Culinary Arts Building, new home of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, with a ribbon cutting held at the building site.

The opening of the 33,000-square-foot culinary facility is the culmination of a three-year project designed to double enrollment at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute.

It is also aimed at providing  NSU’s 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.

Folse called the Aug. 20 a “spectacular day for culinary education in American, and certainly for Louisiana.”Folse, chairman of the board of advisers for the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, taught in the school for the first time the following Monday and pointed out the new Bistro named after Ruth Fertel.

The Culinary Institute opened in 1995 as a four-year culinary arts degree program in Louisiana. The institute employs 13 people and enrolls about 300 students.

The ribbon cutting ceremony 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.


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