ANNAPOLIS, Md (press release) – Remy Robert, New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) director of community relations, received the first-ever 2021 Community Outreach Award from Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts and the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ).
The new national award recognizes a culinary/hospitality program or individuals making a positive impact in their community via outreach programs such as food banks, recycling efforts, skill development for homeless and other services.
NOCHI is a culinary and hospitality learning center with accelerated vocational-style programs, continuing education and professional development. They instill the idea that hospitality is about taking care of others. “It’s a principle we teach our students from their very first day at NOCHI, although that, too, has changed wildly since COVID-19,” said Robert.
During the pandemic, NOCHI began the COVID-19 Meal Assistance Program, a first-of-its-kind initiative that feeds New Orleans residents while injecting badly needed funds into the culinary industry. In partnership with the local organization Chef’s Brigade, a coalition of over 80 small and locally owned restaurants, and Revolution Foods (a vendor contracted by the City of New Orleans), NOCHI receives freshly cooked meals and helps them arrive directly on the most vulnerable New Orleans residents’ doorsteps.
Since the program began in June 2020, it has operated 6 days a week, continually serving up to 12,000 residents and totaling 1.5 million meals delivered and counting. Even in this crisis, NOCHI is promoting diverse and talented restaurants—the lifeblood of New Orleans—and helping to ensure food sovereignty for neighbors who may not otherwise have the option to choose to eat from New Orleans-based businesses. In the process, participating restaurants have earned valuable and steady business, enabling them to re-hire nearly 1,000 staff members who were previously furloughed or unemployed.
Robert said, “’Taking care’ nowadays is less about five-star service and beautifully plated meals and more about protecting each other’s safety and welfare, ensuring our neighbors’ fundamental needs are met. Through the COVID-19 Meal Assistance Program, it is our great honor to play a part in taking care of the greater New Orleans community, from our most vulnerable residents to our local businesses.”
The inaugural 2021 Community Outreach award provides a cash prize and commemorative plaque. Additionally, NOCHI received a complimentary registration for a representative to attend CAFÉ’s 2022 Leadership Conference next June held in Portland, Maine.