Courtesy Baton Rouge Area CVB
Home to 500,000 Southerners, metro Baton Rouge, La., claims to have more restaurants per capita than any other city in the country, providing many ways to experience Louisiana’s culinary heritage. Culinary team-building programs are among them.
The Viking Cooking School, held at the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center, combines down-home Southern culture with epicurean expertise. For inspiration, grilling classes take place in a pavilion on the Hilton’s rooftop pool deck, overlooking the Mississippi River.
“Both the views and the food are heavenly,” said Geraldine Bordelon, director of destinations sales for the Baton Rouge Area CVB.
For larger groups, the state-of-the-art, 28,500-square-foot Louisiana Culinary Institute can create cooking demos, “Iron Chef”-style competitions and hands-on classes for team building and spouse tours. Up to 100 participants can learn kitchen skills in chef hats and aprons.
For those who would rather have someone else do the cooking, Tony’s Seafood, “has the best live and boiled seafood in Baton Rouge,” according to Bordelon.
Groups can take home tales of Louisiana antebellum life after a plantation visit. Less than an hour from Baton Rouge, Plantation Country stretches along the Mississippi. Many historic homes offer tours and event space.
“Visitors love the once-upon-a-time grandeur of plantation homes,” Bordelon said.
Across the levee from the river, Nottoway Plantation features a many-columned mansion, eight meeting rooms, two ballrooms, a pavilion for a 380-guest reception, 40 hotel rooms, cottages, a pool and the Creole-inspired Mansion Restaurant.
An hour away, Houmas House Plantation has 38 acres of gardens with a majestic live oak allee, an 1828 mansion, two restaurants and a Southern Sunday brunch.