Working Hard in the Big Easy

The chance of a lifetime

Rebecca Suta,

It’s not every day that Emeril Lagasse tells you that you’ve earned an all-expense-paid externship at his New Orleans restaurants. That memory and the trip itself will never be forgotten by the eight NCC culinary students who were awarded this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Culinary grad Rebecca Suta, currently a baker at Hellertown Bakery, shares her actual journal entries from her time in New Orleans, working and learning among the best chefs in the country.

DAY 1 Landing in a New Adventure

We landed in the afternoon. Our first day in New Orleans was a free day, which allowed us to tour the beautiful city. I had my first po’boy sandwich, saw the Mississippi River and walked along the famous Canal Street.

DAY 2 First Day of Work

Our first full day in New Orleans had us right at work. My partner for the week was fellow culinary student Matthew Campesi. We worked in Emeril’s NOLA restaurant, where we helped Executive Chef Philip Buccieri prepare food for the dinner service. Then we got to have dinner at the Creole House before starting the night shift at Emeril’s Delmonico restaurant.

DAY 3 Pico de Gallo and Pickled Onions

Day 3 was our final day working in Emeril’s New Orleans restaurants. At Meril’s, we helped prep Guy Fieri’s pico de gallo and pickled red onions for an event. It was exciting working on the famous chef’s menu, little did I know that soon I would be working side by side with him! That night, we were at Emeril’s self-named restaurant where I met the wonderful pastry chef Jeremy Fogg, who is responsible for all of Emeril’s dessert menus. When we were done, all eight of us went out to dinner and finally got to try Café Du Monde’s famous beignets and chicory coffee.

DAY 4 Hard Work at the Hilton

It was a long day spent prepping for two of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s biggest events of the year: the Carnival Du Vin, a black-tie, sit-down meal at the Hilton Riverside Hotel, and the Beer, Bourbon and Boudin event, an outdoor food festival held in Champions Square outside of the Superdome. We worked alongside the incredible chefs from Emeril’s restaurants across the country.

DAY 5 Beer, Bourbon and Boudin Bash!

One word: amazing! We worked with Guy Fieri for the night. He was so much fun and really supportive. Not only did I get my chef coat signed by Guy, but by all of Emeril’s chefs, Emeril himself and Aaron Sanchez!

DAY 6 Carnivale Du Vin Time

Another long day as we finished prepping for the 600-plate, 6-course meal for the Carnivale Du Vin. It was exhausting but I learned a lot. I even got to work alongside renowned chef Traci Des Jardins.

DAY 7 Back to PA

After a late night of work, it was up at 5 a.m. to go back home. I loved every second of this trip, and enjoyed soaking up the culture and wonderful culinary experiences. I definitely plan on coming back to the beautiful city of New Orleans. This trip was truly life changing. I want to thank everyone who made it possible!

[Published in the Summer 2019 Northampton Community College Magazine.]