Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Written by The Independent Staff
It bills itself “the largest culinary competition on the Gulf Coast with the largest ‘Best of Show’ purse [$10,000] in America,” and we encourage you to take the opportunity to see and taste its delicious artistic creations. The Acadiana Culinary Classic returns to Lafayette Monday, May 17, from 7-9 p.m. at the Cajundome Convention Center.
Arrive an hour early and enjoy great wines at Republic National Distributing Company’s wine expo. But this year, the competition offered a truly special treat — an opportunity for a sponsor and seven guests to dine with renowned New Orleans chef John Besh, winner of the 2006 James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef” in the Southeast. On Monday the event announced that Paragon Casino Resort out of Marksville had secured the slot, ponying up $5,000 for the Classic Sponsorship and helping out a great cause in the process. The Acadiana Culinary Classic is a benefit for Hearts of Hope, formerly known as Stuller Place, a non-profit agency that aims to reduce the trauma experienced by child and adult victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault. Hearts of Hope services Lafayette, Acadia, Vermilion, Iberia, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Landry and Evangeline parishes.
Besh, who grew up in Slidell, will also be selling autographed copies of his first solo-authored cookbook, My New Orleans: The Cookbook: 200 of My Favorite Recipes & Stories from My Hometown, on site for $45 and will assist in handing out the evening’s awards.
This high-powered competition requires each chef entrant to bring all of his knowledge, experience, skill and creativity. The classic’s judges and chefs travel from around the country to participate. In the past the competition has been featured in Southern Living, Food and Wine, Travel and Leisure, and other respected publications that cover the food beat.
Each year a local artist creates and donates an original painting that is auctioned at the event — though early bidding, which starts at $500, is already under way. Last year Francis Pavy stepped up to the plate, and this year’s contributing artist is Hope Hebert.
Become a sponsor or purchase a table of 10. Sponsor levels range from $500 to $10,000. Tickets are $100/person and $1,000 for a table of 10. Call 269-1557 for more info.
The Culinary Classic is presented by IberiaBank and Popeyes, with Republic National Distributing and Bruce Foods as supporting sponsors. — Leslie Turk
BUSH BLOWS HIS COVER
Rockin’ feel-good tunes for the last eight years as Lafayette’s go-to party ensemble, The Robbie Bush Band is throwing in the towel and calling it quits. But fret not, fans: This doesn’t necessarily mean the end.
The band as it is now — covering music of past and present at private functions like weddings and Mardi Gras balls — opted to drop the cover band gig and take on a new façade of original material, work that will touch on everything from rock and “Louisiana rock” (as Bush describes it), to country, Motown, jazz and Big Band.
“If you put all of that on one CD, it would probably confuse people,” Bush jokes, but that’s precisely the kind of versatility that’s made The Robbie Bush Band so popular. With a typical set list boasting anything from Manhattan Transfer to Alicia Keys, the 14-piece harmony- and horn-driven collective’s original work will draw upon these influences, and Bush is looking to take this new project beyond the comforts of home.
“I’m really hoping that the original material will be received well enough to be able to move into some of those directions — South By Southwest, some of the festivals that are around us here and around the country — and be able to perform original material and have it accepted,” he says. “You can have a great cover band. If people don’t really like your original material it doesn’t really matter.”
With more than four decades of playing music under his belt, it seems fair to say that Bush will hold a steady hand in his future endeavors — especially with the backing of his local fan base, a band he considers “one of the hardest working, most talented group of team players that [he’s] ever worked with,” and plans to work with multiple Grammy-winning music engineer Tony Daigle at Maurice’s Dockside Studios.
Bush hopes to finish recording the new material by the summer’s end. — Lanie Cook
TWO NIGHTS. LOTS OF WINE
Take one house with a lot of history. Add five acres of gardens filled with blooming jasmine and contemporary sculpture. Throw in gourmet hors d’oeuvres and a five-course dinner paired with wine and you’ve got the recipe for PASA’s Spring Fling Dinner.
The house belongs to Federal public defender and arts patron Michelle Vallot and sculptor Russell Whiting. Originally built by Russell Dupuis, the handmade house was a magnet for local artists. Columns carved by John Geldersma, David Alpha and Elemore Morgan, and other art fill the lovingly defined spaces. Whiting’s work in metal ranges from the sinewy carved tables to dainty birds on a wire. The grounds are planted with Louisiana native species as well as Whiting’s tomato plants.
The menu, by chef Jude Tauzin of Village Café, is pretty tempting:
Panko Fried Soft Shell Crab with Espuma of warm Tarter Sauce finished with Maldon Salt and lime zest; Roasted Carrot and Chestnut Soup with Foie Gras; Mixed Greens with Charred Lamb loin, oven dried tomato and Humboldt Fog crouton laced with Truffle vinaigrette; Rouelle of Hudson Valley Duck Breast with Bacon Lardons, Asparagus, Potato Mille-Feuille and Prune Emulsion; and Chocolate Torchon with frozen caramel mousse and cocoa nib brittle.
Wines are supplied by Glazer Companies of Louisiana.
PASA’s Spring Fling Dinner is set for 6 p.m. on Friday, May 7, at 1090 Nursery Highway, Breaux Bridge.
The following week, PASA’s Wine Tasting Tour in River Ranch — on Friday, May 14 — begins at 6:30 p.m. at the City Club and winds its way through four homes located in River Ranch, including the Mediterranean-inspired home of George and Roxanne Graham, the Arts and Crafts crib of Independent Weekly publishers Steve and Cherry Fisher May and the elegant home of Mike and Cheryl Thompson. PASA Wine Tour-goers will walk along the beautifully landscaped paths to the designated homes or climb aboard complimentary transportation to make their way from home to home throughout the evening.
At each stop along the way, an array of vintages represented by Glazer Companies of Louisiana will be paired with gourmet samplings from area restaurants, including Charley G’s, Osaka, Tsunami, a la carte, Village Café, iMonelli, Zea’s, Pamplona Tapas Bar and Restaurant, and Café des Amis.
The two events, billed together as PASA Wine Pairings, are important fundraisers. Money raised from these events helps support performances, as well as PASA’s Daytime Performances for Students; PASA Plus, which provides free performances and activities for senior citizens; master classes and outreach programs; “Play It Again, Lafayette,” a musical instrument recycling program, and more.
Tickets can be purchased separately or in combination. PASA Wine Tour tickets are $50, and PASA’s Spring Fling Dinner tickets are $150. For tickets, call PASA at 237-2787 or visit www.pasa-online.org.
SOUTHERN OPEN OPENS
Seventy-five pieces of art created by 26 artists will be showcased during the Southern Open 2010, in the Main Gallery of the AcA in downtown Lafayette beginning at 5 p.m. on May 8 and running through July 24.
Each year the AcA curator chooses a single juror who then selects which artwork will be included in the Open. This year’s juror, Bill Arning, director of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, sifted through more than 1,000 pieces of artwork submitted by 250 artists to select the finalists.
During a reception being held on May 8 during ArtWalk, Arning will select the winners who will receive cash awards of $1,000 (first place) and $600 (second and third place). The $1,000 cash winner will also receive a solo exhibition as part of the AcA’s Side Gallery Series during May 2011.
The following artists have been selected to participate in Southern Open 2010:
Cynthia Alleman, Patricia “Muffin” Bernstein, Bess Bieluczyk, Jessica Bizer, Ralph Bourque, Blake Boyd, Bradford Daly, Stephen Paul Day, Lee Deigaard, Heather Delahoussaye, William Depauw, Keith Dorwick, Maja Georgiou, Jay Gould, Rachel Jones, Chris King, Stephen Kwok, Ariya Martin, Colin Miller, David Rae Morris, Stephanie Patton, Adrian Price, David Sullivan and David Webber
Mark Renner and Cameron Frederick Sands
For more information on Southern Open visit AcadianaCenterfortheArts.org/Southern Open.
TWO SAINTS, ONE MISSION
One saint wasn’t enough, and now, 50 years later, the current facilities aren’t enough. Sts. Leo-Seton Catholic School is marking its golden anniversary Saturday, May 1, with a Golden Gala and Silent/Live Auction to help fund an expansion.
The little school that could sprang up on Lafayette’s north side under the good habits of the Grey Nuns of the Cross in August 1959. Everyone liked Ike, and Lafayette’s population was about 58,000 souls. SLS began with grades one through four; today it’s a bustling Pre-K through 8th grade institution that has spread out near the I-10/I-49 intersection with an air-conditioned gym, a multi-media library and that inimitable Roman Catholic mojo.
SLS students began the school year with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Michael Jarrell, and the school’s focus throughout has been “50 years of family tradition.” Sts. Leo-Seton recently broke ground and is now constructing a new junior high building, and they’re treating Saturday’s gala — complete with food, cocktails and music — as a homecoming for alumni and their families. It’s also a fundraiser to help get that junior high building up and running.
The Sts. Leo-Seton Golden Gala will be held from 7-11 p.m. Saturday at the Holidome on NE Evangeline Thruway. For information on purchasing tickets, call 234-5510.
PRESERVES FOR PRESERVATION
When better to daub your strawberry jam on a fresh baked biscuit than at the annual Preservation Alliance of Lafayette Spring Brunch. There’s a lot to celebrate in the historic preservation world this year. Five properties have been added to the Lafayette City-Parish Register of Historic Properties: the Heymann Food Store, 201 Congress, Art Deco, 1935; the Fournet House, 111 Dunreath, Bungalow, 1919; Nickerson-Chappius House, 613 E. Simcoe, Bungalow, 1931; Circa 1901, 523 Saint Julien, Queen Anne Revival, circa 1901; and the Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Exchange, 100 Central St., Italinate, 1927. The brunch, catered by a la carte with music by the Bob Guchereau Combo, is a fundraiser for PAL. There will be a silent auction as well. The shindig takes place on May 2, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Hohorst House, Craftsman, 1905, 112 Azalea St. Tickets are $30 for PAL members, $40 for the general public, call Jeff Larcade, 291-8431, for more information.
BUNKING IT UP
Talk about festivaling it up. New Iberia’s Bunk Fest, honoring jazzman Bunk Johnson, lasts an entire month, from Friday, April 30 to Sunday, May 30, with lots of events in between. The events take place all over town.
Here’s the rundown:
Zydeco Fais Do-Do and Boucherie, Friday, April 30, 2010, 11 a.m. to 6: p.m., Bunk’s Plaza, 500 Hopkins St., featuring a zydeco band.
Cool School Jazz, Thursday, May 6, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m., admission $15, Bayou Teche Trading Post, West Main St., featuring Boundless Horizons.
Jazz for Kids, Friday, May 7, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., MLK Center, 1200 Field St. in West End Park, featuring Lil Nathan.
Jazz and Zydeco Heritage Awards, Wednesday, May 26, 6 to 8:30 p.m., St. Peter St. Branch, Iberia Parish Library, Bunk Johnson Brass Band.
Jazz Pilgrimage Brunch, Sunday, May 30, 8:15 to 10:15 a.m., admission $5 per adult, St. Edward Cafeteria, Porter Street, Bunk Johnson Brass Band.
Pilgrim March and Second Line, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., St. Edward Catholic Church.
in case you missed it