Louisiana’s most celebrated chefs will come together at Kingsley House in New Orleans for a fundraiser, “Chefs for Louisiana Cookery,” benefiting the James Beard Foundation. Chefs have teamed up with each other and local farmers and fishermen to create a menu that is a true testament to the quality ingredients native to Louisiana.

Oysters, strawberries, crab meat, shrimp, sweet potatoes, French bread, Tabasco hot sauce, Cajun caviar, and rice are just a few of the ingredients that will take main stage with chefs including Donald Link, John Besh, Darin Nesbit, and Frank Brigsten. Various purveyors will be on hand to teach guests about their industries, including Tabasco’s master cooper, Hamilton Polk, who will demonstrate barrel making; and Popcorn rice farmer Jimmy Hoppe, who will illustrate the process of growing his crops.

The “Chefs for Louisiana Cookery” event is in part a celebration of the announcement for nominees of the 2010 James Beard Awards, which will occur in New Orleans on March 22. The James Beard awards are the culinary industry’s equivalent to the Oscars and are celebrated in May in New York City. Last year was the first time the award nominees were announced outside New York, and the chosen location was Chicago. Since 1986, the James Beard foundation has been on the forefront of America’s culinary revolution, and remains North America’s only historical culinary center. The 2006 Foundation Awards were a tribute to the culinary legacy of New Orleans, and proceeds raised from those ticket sales were donated to help rebuild small, classic New Orleans restaurants.

Chefs participating in this event have either cooked at the James Beard House in New York or have been recognized through their awards program. The majority of chefs are based in New Orleans, but other regions of the state will be represented, including Lafayette’s own Holly Goetting from Charley G’s Seafood. In addition to Louisiana food, the event will feature live music and wine, beer, and cocktails from Republic Beverage.

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