THIBODAUX – Celebrate Louisiana cuisine Monday, March 14, at the 14th annual Lafcadio Hearn Award Dinner and Distinguished Visiting Chef Series, presented by the John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University.
The event will honor Executive Chef John Besh, proprietor of six New Orleans restaurants – Restaurant August, Besh Steak, Lüke, La Provence, American Sector and Domenica – and one out-of-state restaurant, Lüke San Antonio River Walk in San Antonio, Texas. Additional entrepreneurial projects include the creation of Besh Restaurant Group Catering; a line of gourmet products; and the publication of a cookbook, “My New Orleans.”
Named one of the “Top 10 Best New Chefs in America” by Food and Wine magazine, Besh also received the James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Southeast in 2006 and Food Arts’ Silver Spoon Award in 2009 for revitalizing the culinary legacy of New Orleans. He is a frequent guest chef on the NBC Today Show and has appeared on the Food Network and the Sundance Channel.
A former U.S. Marine, Besh also partnered with Baton Rouge-based emergency reconstruction specialists Arkel International to create ready-to-eat meals for distribution to thousands of emergency response teams and sustained strategic operations in the U.S. and around the world. As a result of his far-reaching efforts, the Louisiana Restaurant Association named him Restaurateur of the Year in 2008.
The evening’s dinner will feature dishes created by distinguished visiting chef Michael Gulotta, a graduate of the John Folse Culinary Institute who subsequently trained under the guidance of Chef Besh. Gulotta currently serves as Chef de Cuisine of Restaurant August in New Orleans. His award-dinner menu will feature jumbo gulf shrimp with pickled mirliton, spicy remoulade and petite greens; cane syrup glazed Mangalitsa pork belly with Louisiana crawfish, Becnel’s blood orange, picholine olives and green garlic; blanquette de veau, a slow cooked breast of veal with handmade sweet potato tortelli and morel mushrooms; and Ponchatoula strawberry and Meyer lemon Streusselkuchen with strawberry Creole cream cheese ice cream.
The award dinner will begin with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m., followed by the distinguished visiting chef’s presentation and dinner at 7 p.m., in the Cotillion Ballroom of the Bollinger Memorial Student Union at Nicholls. For ticket information, call (985) 449-7114. Tickets must be reserved by Monday, March 7.