James Cullen tapped to run NOCCA's Press Street Station, debuts all-day breakfast menu


Sweet potato brioche pain perdu is served with a seasonal fruit compote and Steen's Cane Syrup butter at Press Street Station. - HELEN FREUND
  • Sweet potato brioche pain perdu is served with a seasonal fruit compote and Steen's Cane Syrup butter at Press Street Station.

James Cullen
, who recently ran the kitchen at Trèo in Mid-City, has been hired as the executive chef at NOCCA institute’s Press Street Station (5 Press St., 504-249-5622).  Cullen is also in charge of operating the Box Car food truck as well as overseeing the institute’s catering operations.

Cullen parted ways with the Trèo team in January and had been looking to open up his own restaurant when the NOCCA gig came knocking.

“I was just very lucky and the timing was good,” Cullen says, adding that his new menu is more French-inspired while Treo’s concept focused more on tapas-style Spanish small plates. 

At Press Street Station, vegetables are delivered fresh from the adjacent Press Street Garden and sous chef and head baker Robert Barnard bakes breads daily. Breads include a sourdough, focaccia, sweet potato brioche and stecca variety, which is similar to a baguette.

“We’re trying to make everything 100 percent in-house,” Cullen says.

The breakfast menu, which is served all day, includes a sweet potato brioche French toast served with a blueberry fruit compote and Steen’s Cane Syrup butter. A take on eggs Benedict includes boudin and grilled summer squash topped with poached eggs and a sauce choron.

Lunch options include a pan-roasted drum served with a pecan beurre blanc and grilled vegetables, a mojo-braised pulled pork sandwich on sweet potato brioche and mussels served with a New Orleans style barbecue sauce and home fries.

While Cullen describes the restaurant as an “all-day brunch place,” he says he hopes to roll out a dinner service within the next couple of weeks. The Box Car is usually parked outside on NOCCA’s grounds, and Cullen says he would like to start weekly pop-ups and musical events showcasing the talents of NOCCA students.

Cullen previously worked at Café Reconcile and said his experience working with youth there helped prepare him for his current job where he works with students who intern and alumni of the NOCCA institute’s culinary program.

“The NOCCA students are super, super-talented and they have great personalities,” Cullen said. “Right now I have a dance student, a creative writer, and some in the arts working with me — I think I probably learn as much from them as they do from me.

“The cool thing about NOCCA is that it really brings in lot a different students from all over Louisiana; kids from all sorts of all different backgrounds come here and get to share their artistic endeavors and energy,” Cullen added. “And I like the mentorship aspect of it. Programs like these are great because you don’t really need to want to be in the culinary world for the rest of your life to be able to take away a lot of valuable experiences.”

All of the proceeds from the restaurant and the Box Car go towards supporting the creative arts high school. 

Press Street Station is BYOB and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, visit the restaurant’s website here. 


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