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Chef John Folse Culinary Institute facts for kids

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The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute is an academic college of Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana. The namesake of the college, Chef John Folse, is known as "Louisiana's Culinary Ambassador to the World".


The mission of CJFCI as envisioned by Chef Folse and former Nicholls President Donald Ayo was to preserve Louisiana culture and cuisine by teaching chefs, students and community members to master the art of Cajun and Creole cooking. Emphasis was to be placed on the influences of Cajun-Creole cuisine: Native American, Spanish, French, African, German, English and Italian.

CJFCI began offering courses for college credit in 1995. The institute accepted its inaugural academic class in January 1996, offering an associate of science degree. The Louisiana Board of Regents authorized Nicholls to offer a bachelor's degree in culinary arts in 1997, making it the first four-year culinary degree program at a U.S. public university. Today, CJFCI has an enrollment of approximately 300 students and serves as one of the university's "areas of excellence."


In Chef John Folse's Cajun and Creole Cuisine class, students research and prepare Louisiana's regional dishes, such as Duck-Andouille-and-Oyster Gumbo, Crawfish Bisque, Sweet Potato Pecan Pie, and Louisiana Fig Ice Cream. Guest chefs have included the legendary Chef Leah Chase of Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans, and Certified Master Chef Fritz Sonnenschmidt.

The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute offers a two-year Associate of Science Degree, as well as a four-year Bachelor of Science Degree. Students study the traditional classic art of cooking, while learning about Louisiana regional cuisine.

Some electives include

  • Culinary History of the South
  • Food and Wine Pairing
  • International Pastries
  • Louisiana Seafood
  • Regional French Cuisine
  • Italian Cuisine
  • Contemporary Cajun and Creole Cuisine

The culinary arts program is currently in the Lanny D. Ledet Culinary Arts Building on the Nicholls State University campus, overlooking Bayou Lafourche.

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