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.
newsy bits for the fam
Festival International de Louisiane is right around the corner — April 23-27 — and IND Monthly’s second annual Fest fIND contest is along for the ride.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
Georgia-based fried chicken chain would go up against Raising Cane’s, Chick-fil-A and others (like the Popeyes near its proposed location).
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
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With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
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The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
A Scott businessman has pleaded guilty to failing to report a conspiracy to award Opelousas Housing Authority construction bids to his company.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
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Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday, April 15, 2014:
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.
Now that lawmakers have shot down efforts to cap annual interest rates for payday loans, supporters for stricter regulations of the storefront lenders are rallying behind another strategy.
The Appropriations Committee held public testimony day, letting people talk about what they like or don't like about Gov. Bobby Jindal's budget recommendations for the 2014-15 fiscal year that begins July 1.
Court-appointed examiner says Lafayette businessman was “effectively on both sides” of transactions, opens door for legal action against him.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Lafayette-based insurance broker/risk management group bought by Florida firm for undisclosed sum; principals Landry and Harris continue to run local operations.
Lafayette police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found early Sunday in a drainage ditch in Girard Park.
Former Grant parish District Attorney Ed Tarpley says he's running for the U.S. House seat currently held by Republican Vance McAllister of Swartz.
Louisiana-Lafayette got strong starting pitching and timely hitting to hold off Arkansas-Little Rock 6-3 in Sun Belt Conference baseball in Lafayette, La.
The life and legacy of Dave Perkins will be commemorated with a special INDesign Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the 2014 event on April 24.
Easy crafts in time for Easter