From Baton Rouge to the Bayou, Louisiana’s two basic styles of cuisine are Creole and Cajun. Creole is a blend of many national influences ranging from French and Spanish to Native American. This style of cuisine was originally associated with aristocrats and plantation owners.

Essential ingredients of creole cookery are hot peppers, fruit juice marinade, tomatoes, rice and beans. Basically, from appetizers to entrees, shrimp, oysters, crab and crawfish are featured ingredients.

The main focus of Cajun cuisine is the cajun roux, made from flour and oil. Originally, the main foods were cornbread, molasses, beans and salt-cured meats. One signature dish, Bananas Foster was named for a New Orleans Crime Commissioner and created by Chef Paul Blangé in 1957. This dessert consists of vanilla ice cream drenched with brown sugar and banana liquer that is served flambe style at the diner’s table.

Each mid-November, the Oak Street Po’Boy Festival takes place in New Orleans to highlight a gigantic 8-to-32 inch sub sandwich consisting of beef and seafood. This festival featuring live music and food vendors is a mecca for chefs who ply their skills for a “best of” Po’Boy contest.

Aficionados of creole cuisine know that gumbo and jambalaya are two different things. Gumbo is a thick, stew-style soup served over rice. Jambalaya is a meat and veggie dish with rice included in the cooking pot. Since Spring 1988, a jambalaya festival has been held in Gonzalas, Louisiana. The name for this dish is a translation of the French word for ham.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics for 2008 to 2017, positions in the field of culinary arts are anticipated to grow rapidly. Career options range from Baking & Pastry Artisan and Chef to Caterer and Hospitality Management.

The position of Chef requires a proficiency in all phases of food preparation. Education includes 1-to-4 years of study at a culinary institution or an apprenticeship. Salaries range from $22,000 to $66,000 per year.

Catering is food service provided by an eatery to be staged at a remote location. Catering jobs range from full and buffet style dining to vending stalls at fairs and festivals. The estimated salary for a catering manager is $40,000 annually.

Although Hospitality Management positions offer more lucrative salaries for those possessing certification or a degree, it is possible for an employee to rise up thru the culinary ranks. Most seeking this position possess a business degree with a concentration in hospitality.