Why is it that some of the best food prepared in the state of Louisiana is made by mothers and grandmothers but our state, and the food industry in general, has very few female chefs?

Goodness knows the epicurean prowess of the ladies in Louisiana kitchens is legendary but still when it comes to professional cooking and managing a busy restaurant kitchen it is still very much a man's world.

Nicholls State University's Chef John Folse Institute is on a mission to change that fact. In a new series created at the university female students who hope to be chefs will hear from female chefs that have already broken through the gender barrier and have become successful in this oft male dominated profession.

Having these professional chefs talk about some obstacles that they encountered and how they overcame them can maybe help our students feel a little bit more confident about entering the field.

Those comments were made to the Louisiana Radio Network by Amelie Zerangue, an assistant professor at the Chef John Folse Institute at Nicholls State.  The national averages show that only 21% of jobs in the restaurant industry are staffed by females. The most often cited reason for this relatively low number is family concerns.

In the restaurant industry, you’re working long hours. You’re working holidays, weekends, nights. When everybody’s playing, you’re working, and vice versa.

The speaker series began yesterday when students were addressed by Chef Jaqueline Blanchard, the owner of Coutelier NOLA. Blanchard is not only a successful restaurateur but a Nicholls State graduate.  The seven part series is scheduled to continue throughout the 2016 fall semester.