Thibodaux, LA - There are supposed to be a lot of cooks in the kitchen at the John Folse Culinary Institute, but even there, things can get a little tight.
"All four kitchens will have a lab going on at one time so everybody's sharing the two pot sinks and all the equipment and it really can be a little hectic sometimes," says student Ryan Campbell.
That's why the students and staff here at Nicholls State University are so excited about what's coming.
Construction will begin this spring on the new Culinary Arts Building, a 33,000 square foot facility designed just for the students in the Culinary Arts program.
Executive Director Randy Cheramie says the plans include a restaurant and course-specific kitchens.
"We'll have a general skills kitchen where they learn beginning technique and stuff like that but also in those kitchens, the elective classes like classic French cuisine, Italian cuisine, Latin cuisine, German, Asian, all those would be taught in that classroom," he says.
Cheramie expects the building to be ready by the fall semester of 2014 and he thinks enrollment in the program could double in the next few years.
Nicholls State is one of just a few public universities in the country offering a Bachelors degree in Culinary Arts.
"That 33,000-foot facility I think will truly make us the epicenter of culinary education in the south central region," says Cheramie.
Nicholls graduates work for some of the top chefs in the country in New York, California and just up the road in New Orleans.
They learned many of their skills in the kitchens at Nicholls. But being a chef in Louisiana is about more than skill, it's about tradition and family and for students like Ross Dover, love.
"This is the only thing that makes me truly happy, where I don't really feel like I'm coming to work or going to school or anything like that," says Dover.
Those are lessons taught in every class.