“I have been looking for a way to connect more people to the [local foods scene]; then Paul Ayo asked me to do the Chef’s ChoiceDinner,” says Kastner, executive chef and owner of EAT Food Coaching Services. “I [used] the dinner as an opportunity to use all locally sourced ingredients in ways that many people may have never seen or tasted. The idea is to create a heightened level of curiosity of what food can be.”
|Photos by Lucius A. Fontenot|
|Paul Ayo, left, and Jonathan Kastner lead a demonstration at E's Kitchen.|
With the start of the Chef’s Choice Dinner, Ayo, owner of E’s Kitchen, joined the ranks of Denny and Katie Culbert’s Runaway Dish dinner in offering multi-course dining experiences, which allow top chefs such as Kastner, Marc Krampe and Justin Girouard to create menus that highlight the bounty of locally grown and raised foods in Acadiana.
“This past October, [we] went to Oxford, Miss., for the Southern Foodways Alliance’s annual symposium,” says Katie Culbert, co-owner of Kiki. “The SFA is an amazing organization rooted in preserving Southern food culture. [At the symposium] I had the most memorable meal of my life: a sit-down, 10-course lunch for 400 people, all vegetable dishes passed around family style, in an art gallery. We got back from Oxford and I was like, ‘I want to do that!’ Then we started meeting with Krampe and Justin and Margaret Girouard, and Runaway Dish was born.”
For both the Chef’s Choice Dinner and Runaway Dish, Kastner along with Krampe and Girouard sourced ingredients such as Brookshire Farm beef, Isle Navarre Farms lamb, Bread and Circus Provisions’ 15-month cured ham, Mary Mary Markets’ edible flowers, Louisiana Gulf of Mexico oysters, Gotreaux Family Farms vegetables and eggs, and many more.
Using locally produced ingredients not only educates patrons on the diverse options we have in Acadiana but also provides insight on how to cook locally grown foods. Brian Gotreaux, owner of Gotreaux Family Farms, adds that “chefs incorporating local food into their menu options bolsters community connectivity.” Connectivity is a common theme in the local foods movement, as the dinners feature local farms, which is good for the farmers and ultimately good for the community and environment.
In addition to providing a unique culinary experience and supporting local farmers, all of the profits for each Runaway Dish event go to charity. Not only do attendees get to take pride in the culinary delights they are served and the local farms they are supporting, but they also support local charities with their dinner ticket purchases. The first dinner benefited Louisiana Folk Roots.
“Folk Roots seemed like a good fit for the first one since the dinner took place on the Tuesday before Festival International. Next up, the Children’s Museum in August and the Southern Screen Film Festival in November,” says Katie. “Our mission is to give to very localized, maybe under-served charities or non-profits in the area where $2,000, $3,000, $4,000 can really make a difference and you can see directly where the money is going.”
Tyler F. Thigpen is a wetland ecologist and president of Acadiana Food Circle (www.AcadianaFoodCircle.org), a community-based nonprofit that connects local food producers to consumers.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
C & C Technologies, HIT Fitness, R3 Sciences, the Acadiana Symphony Association and the United Way of Acadiana recognized for innovation.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra has decided to end its traditional Independence Day spectacular known as Red White & Boom.
Under the deal, Teche shareholders would get 1.162 shares of IberiaBank for each share of Teche stock.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The must have pieces this season
Dave Perkins, LCG Comp Plan honored along with local architects and designers at the 2014 INDesign Awards
Greg Manuel’s Lafayette-based residential development company is taking advantage of exponential industrial growth in Lake Charles.
Longtime Lafayette retailer ventures online.
It’s not how aggressive or conservative you are — it’s planning for risk that matters most.
Thanks to cutting-edge digital technology, more and more consumers are banking on ATMs and mobile phones.
Regional bank bids farewell to Downtown May 30
ABiz takes a look back at the most noteworthy moments for the local banking industry over the last year.
Most experts say short-term interest rates will be unchanged through 2014, but long-term rates are inching up.
Largest recruitment event in Acadiana returns May 21 to the Cajundome Convention Center
A lawyer’s ad should only be a starting point, as there is much more to consider when seeking quality representation.
Thanks to the inaugural 2012 INNOV8, a design for lifting heavy objects was brought to market.
The annual juried competition recognizes excellence in architecture, interior design and historic preservation in Lafayette and the five surrounding parishes.
Cypress Bayou GM hosts open house.
New hires, promotions, transfers in Acadiana business
The scion of a landmark Four Corners restaurant climbs back into Lafayette’s culinary scene as franchisee for a popular burger chain.