Each year, the Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award is presented to a recipient who has made a lifetime commitment to the hospitality industry through extraordinary leadership, personal and professional accomplishments and philanthropic contributions to the community. The “New Orleans Wine & Food Experience’s Award Gala,” which took place on January 29, honored Chef John Folse with this award for his unwavering love and extraordinary commitment to Louisiana’s Cajun and Creole cuisine and culture. More than 350 guests were in attendance.

Eric Paulsen of WWL-TV took to the podium as Master of Ceremonies along with NOWFE Executive Director Aimee Brown. The Most Reverend Alfred Hughes, S.T.D., Archbishop Emeritus of New Orleans, delivered the invocation. The Honorable Donna Fraiche, Senior Counsel at Baker Donelson Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC and Honorary Consul of Japan delivered the State of Louisiana Proclamation. Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser spoke prior to the Champagne Sabering by Braithe Tidwell, Brennan’s Wine Director.

Representatives from “The Seven United Nations of Chef John Folse” shared a brief salute to the honoree, a descendant of early Louisiana settlers, in a tribute to the emissaries, envoys and consuls that have existed in Louisiana almost since its foundation at the end of the 17th century.

Toasts were given by: Peter “Gene” and Kathy Verdin; Kirby and Zoe Anna Verret; Corine Paulk and Janie Verret Luster of United Houma Nation; the Honorable Vincent Sciama, Dean of the Louisiana Consular Corps and Consul Générale de France en Louisiane; Marta Blanco, Representative of Spain; Dr. Jessica Harris, Representative of Africa; the Honorable Susanne Veters-Cooper, Honorary Consul of the Federation of Germany; Honorable Dr. Quinn Peeper, Honorary Consul of Great Britain; the Honorable Frank Maselli, Honorary Consul of Italy; the Honorable John Arena, International Restaurateur; Ti Martin, Restaurateur; Errol Laborde, Editor of New Orleans Magazine; and Ewell Smith, President of NOWFE.

The VIP Reception Menu and the dinner menu highlighted the seven united nations, prepared by a lineup of renowned local chefs including Chef John Folse & Company. Libations flowed freely from local distilleries, wine and beer sponsors.

 

Event at a Glance

What: “Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement Award Gala,” benefiting New Orleans Wine and Food Experience

When: Wednesday, January 29

Where: Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans

 

Philanthropic Fun: United by Flavor

Michaela York, Honoree Chef John Folse, Archbishop Alfred Hughes, Danling Gideon

Philanthropic Fun: United by Flavor

John Fraiche, Dr. Jessica Harris, Patrick Dunne and the Honorable Donna Fraiche

Philanthropic Fun: United by Flavor

Master of Ceremonies Eric Paulsen with Errol Laborde, Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser

Philanthropic Fun: United by Flavor

Mark Romig, Stan Harris and Chef Tory McPhail

Philanthropic Fun: United by Flavor

Chefs Lydia Spaeoni, Edgar Dooky Chase, Michael Gulotta and Doe Chase

Philanthropic Fun: United by Flavor

Ewell Smith, Aimee Brown and Fred Holley