NEW ORLEANS -- Construction recently started on the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute, and Tuesday, the founders held a ground breaking ceremony in the CBD.
They replaced the shovels with over-sized spoons, which is fitting since a $32 million culinary school will be built in the spot on Howard Avenue and Carondelet streets.
“The creation of NOCHI was quite a roller coaster ride, and it’s thrilling to be here, but if ever the community and the region and the industry ever came together — with everyone thinking about the greater good of a project — NOCHI is it," said co-founder Ti Martin, who's also a co-proprietor for Commander's Palace.
Crews started working at the end of December on the 93,000 square foot facility.
Founders told WGNO they’re hoping to have the world class culinary and pastry arts school built by early 2019, with classes starting soon after. Those courses will be available for everyone – from tourists to professionals.
"We want everyone in New Orleans to know that while people are going to come here and study the culinary and pastry arts, we are also going to teach a lot to enthusiasts— so that’s you!" said Martin.
Governor John Bel Edwards and Mayor Mitch Landrieu spoke at the groundbreaking, touting the project. Famous restaurateur Dickie Brennan was also in attendance.
Before they walked over to Howard Avenue location, festivities started off at the Greater New Orleans Foundation building. The famous cocktail guys from Commander’s Palace – the Shaker Boys and Girls – put on a demonstration, concocting the famous New Orleans cocktail – the Ramos Gin Fizz.
Martin told WGNO that they will start accepting applications soon, and some of the first people accepted will receive prizes, so head on over to nochi.org and start applying -- whether it be for an intense 6-month semester course or a cocktail workshop.