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Gumbo: An Exploration of New Orleans’ Shared History and Culture Through Food


Through a Community Leadership Grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation — Camp Restore, Community Works, and Team Happy Foundation are piloting the Gumbo project during the Fall of 2016.  12 high school students will have the opportunity to dive into New Orleans’ history through a series of food and dining related experiences with local chefs, accompanied on their journey by musical artist and educator, Cole Williams.

We are seeking to use New Orleans’ rich culinary heritage to illuminate New Orleanians’ history that led to our present-day cuisine. Along the journey, we hope to foster the discovery and development of shared values, both historically and in present-day relationships. These values include opportunity, access, connectivity, and innovation.

The project will include 10 sessions. A sample schedule is below (dates and activities are subject to change):

Learning Session 1 –  November 9, 4:30pm – 6:30pm -Introductions and project overview. City Council member visits and discusses impact of food and restaurants on the New Orleans Economy.

Activity Session 1 – November 12, 11am-2pm –  Fishing and cooking demonstration with Cyndi and Sean Nguyen in New Orleans East.

Learning Session 2 – December 7, 4:30pm-6:30pm – Lesson plan on bbq traditions in the south

Activity Session 2 – December 10, 11am-2pm – Cooking demonstration and explanation of South Carolina BBQ history with Dr. Howard Conyers.

Learning Session 3 – Jan 11, 4:30pm-6:30pm – Food festival organizer talks describes process of putting on a festival

Activity Session 3 – Jan 14, 11am-2pm – Lunch at Cafe Dauphine. Chef and owner wife/husband team Tia and Fred Henry will talk about opening a restaurant in the Lower 9th Ward after Katrina.

Learning Session 4 – Feb 8, 4:30pm-6:30pmDiscussion of BP oil spill and how it affected seafood in New Orleans

Activity Session 4 – Feb 11, 11am-2pmWith the help of students, Camp Restore Chef, Lorraine Breaud, cooks traditional New Orleans meal for 9th Ward Senior Center.

Learning Session 5 – March 15, 4:30pm-6:30pmDiscussion with a food truck owner/operator.

Activity Session 5 – March 17, 6:30pm-8:30pm –  Dinner at Dooky Chase and conversation with Chef/Owner Leah Chase.

*Transportation to and from each event will be provided for all students from their school and back. Food will be provided at each event. Students may receive a stipend for completing the project with good attendance.

We are actively collecting student applications via an online form with an application deadline of October 27.