The New Orleans Culinary and Hospitality Institute, or NOCHI as they are more commonly known, has a program coming up that sounds pretty nifty. Here is the release I received recently:
This December, New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute welcomes you to the rooftop for a series of intimate movie screenings with themed dinner, cocktail pairings, and panoramic views of the New Orleans skyline. Reserve your private table for parties of 2 to 6 at www.nochi.org/movies
Each ticket includes a full-service two-course dinner and specialty Roulaison cocktail or non-alcoholic beverage, with vegetarian options available. We’ll also have a cashless bar onsite with additional beverages and sweet treats. Doors open at 6:30pm and dinner will be served at 7:00, with the screening beginning shortly thereafter. This event is designed for folks ages 18 and over.
NOCHI recently brought chef Scott Maki on board, and he’ll be designing the menus. He’s an amazingly talented guy, and NOCHI is a beautiful place.
In perusing the options, I note that the first movie will be shown on Dec. 4, and it’s “The Hundred Foot Journey,” which I have not seen but which appears to be a film about a chef who moves from India to France to open a restaurant and runs into trouble from Helen Mirren before things turn around. I like Helen Mirren and I also like the menu that I see: cucumber salad with tomato, peppadews, red onion and lavash bread, followed by chicken Tikka Masala with rice & seasonal vegetables (a vegetarian protein option is available, but you need to let them know when you purchase). That plus a cocktail will run you $45 a head.
On Dec. 11 the movie is “Big Night,” and that is a great film about a couple of brothers who have an Italian restaurant and the meal they cook in an attempt to save it. That doesn’t do the film justice, but Stanley Tucci, Ian Holm, Tony Shaloub, Isabella Rossellini and Minnie Driver are fantastic in it and the meal they cook is pure food porn. The menu for this movie is understandably Italian, starting with a marinated artichoke salad followed by pasta Puttanesca with vegetables and Italian sausage (again with a vegetarian protein option if you so specify at checkout) and again with a cocktail for $45.
Finally, on Dec. 18 the movie is “Julie & Julia,” which is based on a blog by a young woman who cooked her way through the book “The Art of French Cooking” over a year. I remember the blog when it was live, and I thought it was a great story. I have no idea whether the movie is any good, but Meryl Streep plays Julia Child and if she could convince me that a dingo stole her baby, she can almost certainly pull off Julia Child for 1.5 hours. I do not have a menu for this one, but I will eat my hat if it’s not French and I will bet you a dollar it costs $45 and comes with a cocktail.
Those cocktails will be provided by Roulaison Distilling Co., a local outfit that makes rum and rum-based liqueurs. I am not the beverage guy around these parts so I don’t feel too bad for not knowing about Roulaison, but they look like they know what they’re doing.
The space at NOCHI where the dinners will be held is, as noted above, beautiful but it’s also large and has an outdoor component. I mention this because while NOCHI will certainly require compliance with the rules where COVID is concerned, the only way this sort of thing works is if there’s enough space between tables and with al fresco dining available. My point is that you can attend these events with the knowledge that you will be as safe as you possibly can be.
I am biased in favor of NOCHI because I have gotten to know a lot of the folks there and they are the best. It is also an asset for the City and I hope you will join me in supporting them.
Let me know if you go to one of these movies – particularly “Big Night” – and let me know if you are thereafter tempted to make the timpano. I sure as hell was, and one day I will God willing and the creek don’t rise.