“Everyone’s life is so hectic, and there are so few places you can relax,” says Paul Soniat, Director of the New Orleans City Park Botanical Gardens. “Our new Kitchen the Garden is a great place to come and just chill out.”

Last October, New Orleans Botanical Garden opened its Kitchen in the Garden. It’s located within the Plano Demonstration Garden, which displays seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs.

The kitchen is used for classes, culinary demonstrations and special events, which highlight garden produce and feature visiting chefs and instructors. It can also be used for televised cooking segments.

“The programming focuses on nutrition and healthy living and often uses the vegetables, herbs and flowers grown in our gardens,” says Soniat.

The Kitchen in the Garden was designed by Baton Rouge-based CARBO Landscape Architecture. It features concrete flooring, industrial-grade appliances, a pizza oven, protective covering and a wood-burning stove.

“We’ve known so many of our local chefs didn’t have access to a wood-burning stove, and, so far, they’ve been excited about the possibility of using ours,” Soniat says.

The park sponsors many and varied events there but people can also rent the space, in conjunction with Garden Study Center, for private events. According to Soniat, the space can accommodate 64 people for a sit-down dinner or 150 people standing.

“Our goal for the project was to create a unique space in the Botanical Garden that allowed for the culinary culture of New Orleans to explore and demonstrate farm-to-table concepts,” says Zach Broussard, project manager with CARBO.

So far, the community seems to be embracing the space. It’s been used for dinners, brunches, seminars and classes.

“We’re pleased,” says Soniat. “Everybody seems to love it.”


Upcoming Kitchen in The Garden Events

Morgan Angelle of Bellegarde Bakary

Angelle will offer a hands-on demonstration of a few of Bellegarde Bakery’s most popular breads and explain how to maintain and work with a sourdough starter.

March 18
6:00 pm- 8:00 pm
$40

Arrangements from the Southern Landscape

Stephen Sonnier of Dunn & Sonnier Antiques-Florals-Gifts will demonstrate how to use plant material and flowers from your garden to create beautiful arrangements. Participants will be cutting flowers and foliage from the Botanical Garden and also supplementing with flowers from the florist.

April 7
6:00 pm- 8:00 pm
$60

Wine Tasting with Joe Briand from Bacchanal Wines

Briand is bringing his knowledge of wine to the Kitchen in the Garden, and he’s picking some favorite wines to sample. Learn about their tasting notes and taste several wines paired with nibbles to highlight their flavors.

April 14
6:00 pm- 8:00 pm
$40

Does your business or organization have an upcoming public gardening event? Email Pamela Marquis at pam5e8@gmail.com.