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Culinary Students Arrive in New Orleans

Katherine Noll,

Culinary Students: First Day in New Orleans

It was 6:15 a.m. on a Monday morning. Not a time you expect college students to be happy about. But as these Northampton Community College students got into the van that was transporting them to the Philadelphia Airport, their smiles couldn't be erased by the time of day.

After all, Matthew Campesi, Kailee Dube, Hannah Georgis, Luke Guensch, David Kucharczuk, Andrea Moretti, Gina Pearson, and Rebecca Suta were told last June by Chef Emeril Lagasse himself that they had earned all-expense-paid externships at his New Orleans restaurants. And now the week long externship was about to start!

NCC culinary student externship winners and staff

The students flew out on Monday morning, November 5. For all eight it was the first time visiting New Orleans. For one, it was his first flight, and a bumpy one at that! Matthew didn't mind. He liked it, because, as he put it, "it was like a roller coaster."

Staff in attendance, Chef Francine Marz, director of the culinary program, Caroline Clifford, director of special events, and myself, Katherine Noll, associate director of communications, were less than thrilled with the roller coaster airplane ride. Yet the excitement of the students eased all motion sickness.

The first day in New Orleans had a few other firsts:  Rebecca's first po' boy sandwich, and all the students (and mine!) first time eating at Meril, one of Chef Emeril's New Orleans' restaurants, enjoying shared plates and a sparkling cotton candy confection to mark the start of this special week.

Sparkling cotton candy confection

I was amazed at how quickly they immersed themselves into this new environment, soaking up the culture and exploring the French Quarter and Canal Streets, mere minutes after arriving at the hotel.

Today was a day to get acclimated and settled. Tomorrow the work will begin. Students, in teams of two, will work morning/afternoon and afternoon/evening shifts at Chef Emeril's world famous restaurants:  Emeril's, Delmonico, NOLA, and Meril. 

On Thursday, they'll start prepping for Chef Emeril's annual food festival, Boudin, Bourbon and Beer, before assisting at the festival itself this Friday. 

Follow along the students' once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on Facebook!