Cristina Ebberman

New Orleans, January 22,2014- The New Orleans School of Cooking, currently celebrating its 35th year in business, received a big birthday present in the form of a $150,000 Mission Main Street Grant from Chase.

The school located in a historic, renovated warehouse in the French Quarter- is one of 20 small businesses nationwide chosen to share $3million in grants from Chase. In addition to the grants, Google will host the businesses for an exclusive marketing workshop at Google headquarters in California.

Since 1980, the school has educated countless local, national and international visitors about the basics of Louisiana cooking such as gumbo, jambalaya and pralines, all seasoned with generous helpings of humor, history, trivia and tall tales. The school also includes a general store that sells, local and regional specialty food items, seasonings, cookbooks and kitchen tools.

"This is a dream come true. It's overwhelming" said Greg Leighton, CEO of the New Orleans School of Cooking. "And timing is perfect. We've been, focused on this anniversary year, to finally grow the business to its full potential.

The school will use the grant to develop its cooking products, expand its class offerings and push more extensively into online commerce. It will also use the funds to provide greater assistance to local non-profits.

More than 25,000 small businesses from all 50 states submitted applications for Mission Main Street Grants. Applications received at least 250 votes from the public were eligible to continue onto the judging phase.

The winners were chosen by a panel of experts for their superiority in demonstrating a solid business plan, feasible growth plan, overall passion for their business, the potential to make a positive impact within their local community, and their likelihood to succeed within a two year time frame.

Louisiana produced two 2015 winners: the New Orleans School of Cooking and Bill Lewis Outdoors. Louisiana produced one winner in 2014, Chemo Beanies was cofounded by two sisters, both cancer survivors who used their experiences to create a company that makes fashionable head covers for women battling cancer.