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NOCCA introduced Culinary Arts to its renowned arts conservatory curriculum in 2011. The 4 year master-apprentice program has welcomed over 70 students.

“My grandmother inspired me growing up in the kitchen, but my idol is Emeril Lagasse.” - Janee Taylor, NOCCA culinary arts graduate

Teaching Culinary as an Artform

In 2007, Emeril Lagasse Foundation funded the first pilot program for 13 high-school aged students during NOCCA’s June Intensive Summer Session. A guest instructor from Chef Emeril’s alma mater Johnson and Wales University taught the session, held in the commercial kitchens at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside.

For the next four years, ELF granted funds to host summer sessions for a total of over 65 culinary hopefuls. Guest instructor Chef Michael Makuch taught the students the methods of cooking, with a particular focus on healthy and nutritious foods.

The enormous success of these programs funded by ELF led NOCCA to announce it will add a four-year Culinary Arts program to its specialized arts curriculum, and ELF committed to serving as a founding partner in this collaborative effort.

On March 23, 2011, NOCCA held the ribbon cutting for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Culinary Arts Studio. As part of a series titled “Art of the Feast,” Chef Emeril hosted a culinary arts symposium for students, faculty and educators with a roundtable interview by Dr. Nick Spitzer of NPR. Summer 2011 brought the fifth Summer Intensive Culinary Program, taught by new culinary faculty chair, Chef Dana D’anzi Touhy.

In fall 2011, the first four-year high school pre-professional culinary arts training program of its kind opened at NOCCA.