I did not get a press release about the event chef John Besh held at Lüke on Tuesday. I noticed it as I walked by, on my way back from court. Lüke is across St. Charles Ave. from my office building, so it wasn’t exactly Sherlock Holmes-level sleuthing on my part.
But I did not get a press release about it. I went back and looked. It’s entirely possible I missed it, and my colleagues in the local food-writing world will no doubt correct me if I did, but I think maybe there was no press release in advance of this event.
The event was a celebration of the birthday of the Marine Corps. Chef Besh invited Marines and members of the United States Navy to celebrate with him. When I talked to a manager at Lüke on Wednesday, he said they’d expected 600 attendees.
The event started at 2:30 in the afternoon, and they stopped serving at 11:00, but I heard folks were there until 1:00 or 2:00. I’m told they estimated around 1000 people were there over the course of the afternoon and evening.
Drake Leonards is the executive chef at Lüke, and when I asked the folks I know at the Besh Restaurant Group, they told me he’d cooked duck and Andouille gumbo, shrimp etouffée pies, burgers and Chappapeela Farms pork Bolognese. They also noted that drinks were free for service members, and I can tell you that’s true. There was a banner on St. Charles saying “Marines drink free” and my guess is that’s not a promise you make in jest.
Again, maybe I missed the PR about this, but I think it’s more likely chef Besh does this (and he does this every year) not for the publicity, but because it means something to him.
Look, I like John Besh, and I like his restaurants to varying degrees. He is a fantastic chef and an incubator of talent – which is proven not only by the number of restaurants in which he has a personal interest, but also by the number of restaurants operated by folks who’ve gone through his kitchens.
So while I’ll admit I’m biased in this regard, I think it’s hard to dispute that what chef Besh (and his business partner, Octavio Mantilla, for that matter) do for members of the military, is noteworthy. So I’m noting it.
In other news, the Southern Food and Beverage Museum – which I would marry, were it possible to marry a building and were I not also already happily married to my sexy wife, Eve – is hosting a pickle party for Girl Scouts.
Normally I aim my columns to a broad audience, and “girl scouts who want to learn how to make pickles” is a pretty narrow demographic. But I like making pickles and I would attend this class were I a Girl Scout. There are 3 classes, on Saturday, November 14. The first starts at 11 a.m., and the last at 1 p.m. To reserve a spot for your Girl Scout, contact Jennie Merrill at 569-0405.
Do I get to make pickles? I do not. Though I am not the most hirsute man you will ever meet, I would have a difficult time passing as a Girl Scout, I think. As a result, I do not get to make pickles. I get nothing. Not a sliver of half-pickled onion; not a leftover peppercorn. Not a farthing.
Do I care? Well, maybe a bit, but only because I live to share information about pickles with you, Dear Readers. The Girl Scout angle I could live without. Fascists.
Also, I live for my family. I should probably make that clear, or I may run into trouble with the aforementioned wife.