a beautiful Sunday evening in Atlanta
at the spectacular King Plow Arts Center six of the finest chefs from
Louisiana prepared an elegant representation of Louisiana cuisine in an
informative and entertaining wine dinner event.
chefs and restaurateurs included an old friend Paul Prudhomme, plus greats
like John Folse, Leah Chase, Randy Cheramie, Gary Darling and Mary Sonnier.
This special Culinary Celebration Benefit a very special annual
Atlanta event-- benefited the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls
State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana.
Propelling the distinctive cuisine of his native Louisiana into the international
spotlight, Paul Prudhomme is the renowned owner and chef of New Orleans
famous K-Pauls Louisiana Kitchen and author of numerous best-selling
cookbooks. As a result of endless requests for his seasoning secrets,
Prudhomme created his own line of all natural herbs and spices called
Chef Paul Prudhommes Magic Seasoning Blends®. When television
chefs are ranked someday, Chef Paul will be recognized as a genuine pioneer
who got his message about the great food styles of Cajun Louisiana to
Paul prepared an appetizer on stage before a packed house, Saint-Amant
Dor, consisting of baked aged brie with goat cheese custard, roasted
fennel and sun-dried tomato and honey. The Mondavi Chardonnay paired nicely
with this unforgettable dish that, because it was served with coconut
crackers, reminded several diners of Thai cuisine.
as Louisianas culinary ambassador to the world, John Folse has poured
his passion for Louisiana culture and cuisine into his restaurant, Lafittes
Landing, and his long-running enormously popular PBS program, A
Taste of Louisiana. In addition, the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute
at Nicholls State University is dedicated to the preservation of Louisianas
rich culinary heritage while fostering Louisianas role as a culinary
leader. Following the evenings format, the distinguished chef prepared
Fleur-de-lis triple cream and oyster bisque which was so delicious that
everyone was willing to forget all those warnings about fat, calories
and good health. We were helped health wise by glasses of spectacular
Co-founder of Semolina International Pasta Restaurant chain and Zea Rotisserie
Grill in New Orleans, our next chef, Gary Darling lived and cooked in
Louisiana for over 20 years. He moved to Cajun country after extensive
travel honing his talents in Europe, Mexico and the U.S. and was named
New Orleans Chef of the Year in 1983. His creation, baby spinach
with pepper-jelly vinaigrette became an instant hit, proving that simple
food satisfies gourmet yearnings when prepared with care and love.
the past 53 years, Leah Chase has been the owner and chef of Dooky Chase
restaurant a New Orleans Creole landmark and a personal favorite.
She has cooked countless servings of jambalaya, Creole filé gumbo
and shrimp. A cookbook author, Chase has appeared on cooking shows with
nationally recognized chefs including Julia Child, Graham Kerr and John
Folse. Her fresh gulf pompano with Creole crabmeat ragout defies description.
You had to be there to appreciate the distinctive spicing and blending.
This was a dish that fit comfortably with a domestic Pinot Noir. Randy
Cheramie was the chef and owner of the well-known Randolphs Restaurant
in Golden Meadow, Louisiana, for 20 of its nearly 60-year history. He
is currently a chef and lecturer at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute
at Nicholls State University and thus well qualified to prepare south
Louisiana Pork Wellington with a country mushroom Duxelles and Fois Gras.
Everyone knew the wine for this entrée had to be something from
France, and bottles of 2000 Bordeaux soon appeared.
Mary Sonnier met her husband and business partner while working as an
apprentice under Paul Prudhomme at K-Pauls Louisiana Kitchen. They
fell in love with the restaurant business as well as each other and opened
their acclaimed restaurant, Gabrielle, recognized nationally by Bon Appetit,
Southern Living and Gourmet magazines, to share their interpretation of
contemporary Creole cuisine. No ending would be complete without dessert
and the Plaquemines Satsuma Pudding cake withhomemade pecan lace cookies
was not only wonderful on the palette, but fun to watch as it was prepared
live by this culinary artisan.
The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute is
an academic college of Nicholls State University. Nestled deep in the
heart of Cajun Country, Nicholls State is located in Thibodaux, Louisiana,
50 miles southwest of New Orleans. The area is rich in cultural heritage
and is known for its hospitality and fine cuisine. There could be no better
ambassador than Chef Folse for the Institute and the mission of sharing
this indigenous cooking culture with the world. The evening, the fourth
annual fundraiser, was under the auspices and sponsorship of Popeyes,
a division of AFC Enterprises, Inc.
one magic evening though, these celebrity chefs and their divine creations
were ours to be enjoyed in a wonderful room in midtown Atlanta. This was
a remarkable testament to how food and wine appreciation in Atlanta has
developed in just a few years. Our standards are high and getting more
so. As we are introduced to the best food prepared by culinary artisans,
we almost instinctively know that below average or even ordinary wine
is unacceptable. Our expectations are different and better now which truly
benefits the dining culture of the area.
about some more exceptional Chefs
Follow the arrow to learn more about
the handcrafted cheeses of Sweet Grass Dairy . . .
or . . .
. . wines from North Georgia's Three Sisters Vineyard.