The New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute

From 2014-2019, EskewDumezRipple worked with the New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) to establish a new culinary school in downtown New Orleans.

The iconic yellow-brick historic facade that is NOCHI's main building
One of several adjoined training kitchens and restaurants for educating culinary students

Occupying a historic former Art School complex, the project revitalized a downtown corner with student activity focused around a street-side café and 3rd floor “pop-up” restaurant space. This new culinary school includes 5 stories of active learning classrooms, collaboration spaces and seven different teaching kitchens. The project also includes a student commons and large event spaces with rooftop terraces that double as herb gardens. The project includes two protein kitchens, two pastry labs, a large event kitchen, pop-up restaurant kitchen and a street-side café kitchen as well as numerous beverage-serving locations and hospitality areas. All of these were carefully inserted into the historic structure to avoid conflicts with the existing architecture and respect historic conditions. BIM modeling was used extensively to coordinate the project, leading to a smooth construction process with minimal change-orders. The construction was delivered in a design–assist/design-build hybrid model with local builder, Woodward Design-Build.

The NOCHI cafe, operated by an internal team from the institution, open to the public on the ground floor

The NOCHI project is the realization of lifelong dreams for its founders, a consortium of prominent New Orleans Restaurateurs. Recognizing a need for home-grown culinary talent, the NOCHI organization, in partnership with the Convention & Visitors Bureau and Tulane University took on this exciting adaptive re-use. Financing for the $16mm project included State Historic and New Market tax credits and substantial donations of kitchen equipment from national provider, NAFEM. Construction duration was 14 months.

Common space intended for collaboration, relaxation, and study for culinary students
The expansive lobby welcoming visitors to the institute