In June, New Orleans lost a revered icon with the passing of chef, restauranteur and community leader Leah Chase. Her legacy in the culinary world is undeniable and her belief in the power of food made her special. “Food builds big bridges. If you can eat with someone, you can learn from them, and when you learn from someone, you can make big changes,” she once said. Chase used her keen perception of the deep relationship between food and culture to make positive change.

Also recognizing the exciting possibilities to educate and inspire through food, the New Orleans Botanical Garden expanded their programming with the recent opening of the spectacular Kitchen in the Garden, a state-of-the-art outdoor kitchen. Kitchen in the Garden is perfectly positioned adjacent to the PLANO (Professional Landmans Association of New Orleans) gardens, which feature raised beds used for planting seasonal vegetables, fruit, herbs and edible flowers. Designed by Carbo and Associates of Baton Rouge, the open air kitchen is outfitted with gleaming industrial grade appliances, a wood-burning stove and rotisserie, a pizza oven and broadcast technology with television monitors for cooking segments. Ample seating areas under a protective covering provides a unique, beautiful programming and special event space.

This latest gem in City Park offers an unprecedented opportunity for programming focused on healthy living and environmental stewardship through hands-on gardening, cooking events and classes. “New Orleans is a culinary powerhouse, but sadly many people are unfamiliar with the health benefits of fresh produce, its availability and affordability and how to prepare it,” says Paul Soniat, Director of the Botanical Garden. “The Kitchen in the Garden endeavor was conceived to provide the public with educational programming to better appreciate food and where it comes from, and in turn making New Orleans a healthier city.”

Students, families and the community at large will have access to culinary workshops, demonstrations on healthy cooking utilizing seasonal produce, as well as growing, gardening and composting programs and much more, including a chef’s dinner series showcasing local chefs and instructors who will utilize the garden to harvest ingredients for the dinner and demonstrations – a true garden-to-table experience.

Funded primarily through the success of the Botanical Garden fundraiser “Magic in the Moonlight” as well as generous donations from local foundations, corporations and individuals, additional sponsorship and naming opportunities are available. New Orleans has been blessed with a robust culinary tradition, making it the perfect place for a top-notch garden to serve as a conduit in promoting the benefits, availability and affordability of creatively cooking with fresh produce. Kitchen in the Garden is making a positive impact on individuals and families to develop healthy nutritional practices that will deliciously benefit both our youth and our community as a whole for years to come.

A little more…

Fall 2019 Programming:

November 5
Chef’s Dinner Series presented by Rene Fransen and Eddie Bonin with chef Susan Spicer

November 6
Pizza Making with Pizza Delicious and Dan Stein

November 12
Holiday Wreath Making with Stephen Sonnier of Dunn & Sonnier Antiques • Florals • Gifts (this workshop includes all supplies, a wreath form and buckets of natural materials)

November 13
Thanksgiving Recipes – hibiscus cranberry sauce with chef Jessie Gelini

November 19
Peppers in the Garden – pickling and hot sauce with chef Melvin Stovall III and Dr. Joe Willis, LSU Agriculture Center

For more information or tickets, visit