One of Landry Duchane’s fondest childhood memories was watching his great grandmother in the kitchen. Those warm memories sparked an early interest in the culinary arts and eventually lead him to New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts in 2012.
Cooking has always been a passion of mine, so the culinary program at NOCCA was a natural fit,” said Duchane.
NOCCA is a four-year high school culinary arts program for aspiring chefs, and is the first of its kind in the country. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation first began supporting NOCCA in 2006, and after five years of planning and pilot programs, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Culinary Arts studio opened its doors. In 2014, thanks to a $1.5 million pledge from the Foundation, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Culinary Arts Center opened, helping students like Landry pursue their dreams in the culinary arts.
Now a senior at NOCCA, Landry gets to practice his passion for cooking every day under the guidance of the center’s skilled chefs and instructors
One thing I really enjoy about the program is being able to switch things up and add my personal twist to dishes,” said Duchane. “My NOCCA instructors, Chef Dana and Chef Jessie, have been big inspirations.
While not only receiving important hands-on training, students are provided the opportunity to work side by side with leading master chefs who serve as professional mentors, delivering all aspects of curriculum along with real-world lessons.
“One of the most important things I’ve learned from my mentors at NOCCA is that making mistakes is part of learning and growing,” said Duchane. “So I learn from those mistakes instead of letting them get me down.”
One of NOCCA’s top students, Landry’s journey within the culinary arts has just begun.
The Emeril Lagasse Foundation and NOCCA have really made me think about how I envision my future and opened up a lot of doors for me,” said Duchane. “I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for the Foundation. My dream is to open catering companies across the U.S.”
The Emeril Lagasse Foundation is proud to support organizations that inspire students like Landry to reach their fullest potential. Learn more about how you can get involved and support causes making a difference here.