Justin Girouard, chef and owner of The French Press, has been nominated for a 2012 James Beard Award.
To say this is "kind of a big deal" is like saying a tablespoon of cayenne in your mouth is "a little bit hot." The James Beard Awards are equivalent to the Oscars, except of course tastier. The categories are vast — both the food and beverage sides of a restaurant are noted and best chefs are broken up by U.S. region. Girourard is nominated in the "Best Chef: South" category.
This same honor was given last year to another Louisiana chef, Stephen Stryjewski of Cochon in New Orleans. Past Louisiana winners have included Cochon's founder Donald Link and also Susan Spicer, John Besh and more. With national eyes turned toward Lafayette it isn't a leap to assume we can expect more nominees from our side of the Atchafalaya in the coming years.
Girourard is a fairly new chef. He began working in Crescent City eateries about t10 years ago and after getting his feet wet opened The French Press on Vermilion in downtown Lafayette two years ago. With its bricked walls constantly packed with the salivating masses it's easy to see why he was nominated — Girourard takes typical Cajun and Southern fare and turns it on its ear a bit, enough to be innovative and not enough to alienate the grandparents who grew up eating foods made the same way. Even our beloved downtown fireman statue points toward The French Press.
The fun part? Most people are knowingly nominated by a colleague, restaurant manager or friend. Not Girourard. He doesn't know who put him up for the biggest culinary award so far in his career, although some of us outside his restaurant have theories and guesses.
Whether Girourard wins will be discovered May 7 along with the rest of the nominees in New York City where they will be fêted over a weekend. The awards are announced at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Since 1990 the awards have singled out the best chefs, restaurants, bars, writers and others in North America. James Beard was a singer and actor who turned to catering in the 1940s after moving to New York City. This led to the publication of his first cookbook. In 1955 he founded the James Beard Cooking School and went on to become one of the first nationally known chefs, bringing particularly French and also Chinese influences to American households. This established foundation seeks to honor what Beard began.
Follow the James Beard Foundation Twitter feed here for minute-by-minute announcements May 7 or check them out for great recipes, links and interviews.
The Lafayette Parish School Board's mishandling of its insurance selection process over the last two years has caught the attention of the FBI.
Kids under 18 will have to pursue skin cancer the old-fashioned way.
The illustrious Ragin' Cajun alumni will receive the university's prestigious SPARK Award as part of the 10-day arts celebration.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Lafayette Parish School Board member Kermit Bouillion says he will defend his District 5 seat in the upcoming election.
The Louisiana chapter of Americans for Prosperity sent the pledge request to all 144 lawmakers in February.
The 5-foot-10, 203-pound former second-round pick has gone to three Pro Bowls in his five seasons.
The state argues that if they identify how they're getting the drugs, they could have trouble buying more because companies don't want to be known as helping in an execution.
The enrollment period ends this month.
Newsy tidbits for the fam
Irish style is smiling
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, March 12, 2014:
Abshire has rejoined the Lafayette Bar Association, where she previously served as marketing coordinator under longtime Executive Director Susan Holliday
Home-grown Baton Rouge market/deli heads to Lafayette.
Deadline for submitting noms for annual competition is March 15
Whitney Bank officials have confirmed that the downtown branch will cease to exist when it relocates its regional headquarters to River Ranch at the end of May.
So far the Democratic agenda includes proposals to expand Medicaid; increase the minimum wage; offer equal pay to women; heighten regulations on predatory lending practices, like payday loans; and add more transparency in the governor’s office.
Hot-button education issues ranging from Common Core to charter schools have some lawmakers pushing to scrap the appointing process and go back to electing the state's super.
Downtown Lafayette restaurant launches new concept near Le Triomphe
Police say the handcuffed man fatally shot himself in the back, but his family isn't buying the story.
Yeah, it's smoked venison sausage stuffed in a suckling pig stuffed in a lamb and roasted over an open fire.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Gov. Bobby Jindal offered a budget proposal that suggests new education and health care spending, pay raises for state workers and an incentive fund to encourage colleges to enhance their science, engineering and technology training.
Reamco founders Brent Milam and Ashley Lane now shareholders in acquiring company and part of its management team.
Low heels, high style
The board hopes to recover all fees paid, plus one-half, along with what could amount to hundreds of thousands in additional penalties.
Oh, the irony... or something like that.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Hopefully he’ll be better prepared today than he was in that Feb. 20 deposition.
They came by the hundreds, arriving from all regions of the state to gather on the steps of our Capitol in protest of the Legislature’s long tradition of giving industry the go-ahead to abuse our air, our water and our coastline, all in the name of good economics.