Eat a Little, Give a Lot
I don't know whether it's the time of year or whether I'm just more attuned to restaurant-oriented benefits lately, but in the last week or two, I've received word of a number of promising events. For example, on Monday, Sept. 24, Commander's Palace will host the Celebrity Chef Tour, a four-course wine dinner benefiting the James Beard Foundation. Four chefs from the Commander's family of restaurants: Tory McPhail, Executive Chef of Commander’s Palace; Danny Trace, Executive Chef of Brennan’s of Houston; Chris Barbato, Executive Chef of Café Adelaide; and Juan Carlos Gonzales, Executive Chef of SoBou will cook a seafood-focused Creole meal. The foundation is a non-profit organization with the goal to promote America's culinary heritage by providing scholarships and volunteer opportunities for young folks looking to make a career in the restaurant industry. Tickets for the event cost $150 and you can buy them by calling (720) 201-1853 or by visiting celebritycheftour.com.
I also received a press release about a book signing at Calcasieu on Wednesday, Oct. 10, to benefit the St. Bernard Project. Chef Stephen Stryjewski of Cochon, Cochon Butcher and Cochon Lafayette, will host a signing to introduce the new edition of John Martin Taylor’s Hoppin’ John’s Lowcountry Cooking. The book is widely considered a classic regional cookbook, and this year marks the 20th anniversary of its publication. To mark the occasion, the University of North Carolina Press has released a new edition of the cookbook with 250 authentic and updated recipes and ruminations from Charleston and the Carolina Coastal Plain.
The St. Bernard Project is an award-winning rebuilding nonprofit organization whose mission is to remove physical, mental and emotional barriers for vulnerable families, senior citizens and disabled residents who are struggling to recover from the devastation and trauma caused by Hurricane Katrina and the Oil Spill and, more recently, Hurricane Isaac.
Stryjewski will prepare a three-course menu pulled from the pages of the cookbook, and the author will be on hand to mingle with guests. Tickets to the dinner are $100 per person and include a signed copy of the cookbook and a bag of Hoppin’ John stone ground grits. To make a reservation, call (504) 588-2188.
Last, but not least, there's the New Orleans Pro Bono Project's annual fundraiser, the Justice for All Ball. The event takes place at the Audubon Tea Room on Friday, Sept. 28th, and helps fund free, civil legal services for folks in Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Washington parishes who can't otherwise afford representation. It's a good cause, but it's also a great party. A host of local restaurants and bars will be contributing food and beverages for the party; you can find the full list here. The event is black tie optional, and in addition to the food and drinks, music will be provided by Big Sam's Funky Nation and Ovi'G & the Froggies (Los Ranas). Yes, the place will be lousy with lawyers, but this is New Orleans – pretty much everywhere is lousy with lawyers here. Tickets cost $150 and can be purchased online. There's also a raffle – tickets for which cost $5 – and you can view the prizes by clicking on “View the Prizes!” at the Project's website.
In the interest of full disclosure, I am on the committee which organized the ball. In the interest of even more full disclosure, I am selling raffle tickets. Feel free to drop me an email if you'd like to try your luck.