Nicholls to honor culinary pros with seafood feast

THIBODAUX – Celebrate Louisiana’s culinary tradition Monday, March 17, at the 11th annual Lafcadio Hearn Award Dinner and Distinguished Visiting Chef Series, presented by the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University.

The event will honor Chef Frank Davis of WWL-TV and the late Lee Barnes of the Lee Barnes Cooking School in uptown New Orleans. The Lafcadio Hearn award is given to culinary professionals who have had a long-term, positive influence on the cuisine and culture of Louisiana and the nation. Hearn, who died in 1904, wrote a series of books and articles that introduced New Orleans to the world and helped document Creole cuisine for future generations.

The evening’s dinner will feature dishes created by distinguished visiting chef Tenney Flynn of GW Fins restaurant in New Orleans. The menu will include crawfish dumplings with shaved fennel and tomato concassé in lobster butter sauce; bibb and arugula salad with roasted red peppers, shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese and toasted pine nuts, dressed with Kalamata vinaigrette; seared Gulf fish with shrimp étouffée sauce, creamy mashed potatoes, sautéed spinach, shitake mushrooms and tasso with fried oyster garnish; and individual apple pies, fresh baked with cheese straw top crusts and homemade vanilla bean ice cream.

Flynn’s culinary honors are quite extensive. In 2001, Esquire magazine named GW Fins among the “Best New Restaurants,” and New Orleans Magazine named Flynn “Chef of the Year” in 2004. He has received additional recognition from Travel & Leisure, The New York Times, Food & Wine, The Times Picayune, Southern Living, the Zagat guide and New Orleans food critic Tom Fitzmorris.

Honoree Frank Davis is a chef of many talents. In addition to his “In The Kitchen with Frank Davis” broadcasts on WWL-TV, Davis has authored several fishing guidebooks and cookbooks, including the just-released “Frank Davis Makes Good Groceries.” He also conducts cooking shows and clinics for a wide variety of audiences. A proprietor of his own blend of seasonings, Davis is a member of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and The American Culinary Federation.

Honoree Lee Barnes, who passed away in 1991, graduated from Newcomb College in New Orleans as an art major and continued her studies abroad at the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris, France. Upon completion of her studies, she returned to New Orleans and opened the Lee Barnes Cooking School and Gourmet Shop in 1976, specializing in Southern, Cajun and Creole cuisines. Barnes – whose motto was “Love to eat? Learn to Cook!” – was instrumental in elevating Southern and Creole cuisines to the national mainstream of gourmet specialties.

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., all at Cypress Columns, located at 157 Tourist Drive in Gray. For ticket information, call (985) 449-7114.