OUT TO LUNCH finds economist and Tulane finance professor Peter Ricchiuti conducting business New Orleans style: over lunch at Commander's Palace restaurant. Each week Peter invites guests from the New Orleans business renaissance to join him. The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Inc magazine have all named New Orleans the best city in the USA to be an entrepreneur. Out to Lunch is the cafeteria of the new New Orleans entrepreneurial movement. You can also hear the show on WWNO 89.9FM.
Photo by Rick Lineberger
If you eat out in New Orleans you’ve probably noticed two things. One, there seem to be a lot more restaurants to choose from these days. And, two, everywhere you go seems to be busy.
You’re right on both counts. New Orleans has more restaurants than ever. Over twelve hundred. And we have a larger population than we’ve had in some time, so that means more people eating out.
Although this is a good trend for the hospitality industry, it comes with one problem: competition. Not just for diners, but competition for accomplished staff. If you own a restaurant, you want to be able to hire staff with experience. Until now there hasn’t been anywhere here to get that experience, except a restaurant.
That’s where the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute comes in. As of January 2019, 301 years after it was settled and 100 years after it established itself as one of America's food hubs, New Orleans has a school dedicated to cooking and hospitality.
Carol Markowitz is Executive Director of NOCHI. Since Carol moved to New Orleans a decade or so ago she has had an outsized influence on the entrepreneurial culture here. Carol started out as a leader at business incubator Idea Village before spearheading the fundraising and development of NOCHI.
NOCHI is a reflection of the combined skills, talents, and drive of Martin and Markowitz. You get the sense that these two could build an empire. They just might.