New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute Hosts ‘Cooking for a Cause’

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NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute will host the Cooking for a Cause fundraiser from Sept. 30 through Oct. 14. The two-week event will take place entirely online, where participants can bid on private classes with some of the top names in hospitality – including Emeril Lagasse, Danny Meyer, Donald Link and Nina Compton – as well as high-end kitchenware. On Oct. 14, the event will culminate in a live-streamed “grand finale” in conjunction with Commander’s Palace’s wine and cheese Zoom classes. Food writer Ian McNulty and Dan Davis of Commander’s Palace will co-host the virtual party.

All proceeds from Cooking for a Cause will support NOCHI’s flagship hospitality programs, as well as continuing education and community initiatives for the greater New Orleans region.

In a time when in-person celebrations have all but come to a halt, Cooking for a Cause aims to do two things: provide memorable (and safe) experiences to a global community of cooks and raise money to support the nonprofit culinary school’s students and programs. It is the school’s first annual fundraiser. 

The curated offerings will take place in NOCHI’s state-of-the-art teaching kitchens or via Zoom and will be scheduled at the winning bidder’s convenience within one calendar year.

Nina Compton, chef-owner of Compère Lapin and Bywater American Bistro, will lead a hands-on pasta workshop, while Emeril Lagasse will lead guests in cooking their own feast with his signature recipes. Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace fame will demonstrate a contemporary take on Creole, while Serigne Mbaye presents a Senegalese reimagining of New Orleans cuisine. Donald Link, Sue Zemanick, Dickie Brennan, Toya Boudy and NOCHI’s own chefs are also on the roster. Those opting to stay home will be tempted by an interactive five- course dinner party catered by NOCHI Executive Chef Scott Nesbitt.

“Since NOCHI opened in January 2019, we’ve been planning for our first big fundraiser,” said NOCHI Executive Director Leah Sarris. “Cooking for a Cause looks a little different than we originally thought – and may well be even better. We’re honored to showcase the best culinary talent Louisiana has to offer, and excited to bring truly priceless experiences to our supporters. The online platform allows that community to only grow bigger. Like so many in hospitality, we’ve faced extreme challenges in the wake of COVID-19. All proceeds from Cooking for a Cause will support our flagship certificate programs as well as continuing education and community initiatives so that we can continue to serve as a hospitality hub in New Orleans and beyond.”

Online bidding opens at 12:01 a.m. CT on Wednesday, Sept. 30 and closes during the live-streamed grand finale, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

To learn more and see the full auction line-up, visit


Categories: Dining/Entertainment, Food, Hospitality, Nonprofit, Philanthropy, Today’s Business News