“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.
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While much of the talk was about whether New Orleans could win a big game — or any game, for that matter — on the road, the conversation in the Saints' locker room was about something completely different.
State health officials told thousands of doctors planning to attend a tropical diseases meeting this weekend in New Orleans to stay away if they have been to certain African countries or have had contact with an Ebola patient in the last 21 days.
Republicans are calling on Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu to apologize after she suggested Thursday that President Barack Obama's deep unpopularity in the South is partly tied to race.
Compared to the rest of the country, Lafayette has it pretty good when it comes to the cost and speed of our Internet.
Hello Kitty turns 40; police ambush suspect caught; Knicks surprise Cavs and more national and international news for Friday, October 31, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will consider on Tuesday a revised plan to the transform a block in Downtown Lafayette into a mixed-use residential-retail-commercial development that doesn’t include giving title to the property to the Lafayette Public Trust Finance Authority, an arrangement the council rejected earlier this month.
Trying to combat the national undertones of Louisiana's U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu is traveling the state this week on a sort of pork celebration tour, telling voters about the projects and aid she's delivered to Louisiana.
Ever thought that big, pink Gulf coast shrimp you ordered at the restaurant or bought from the store didn't taste juicy or salty enough? Maybe it wasn't from the Gulf.
The state treasurer won't sign financial documents needed for $200 million in borrowing or for a refinancing of existing debt until he believes they accurately explain the surplus disagreement.
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Acadian style home in St. Martinville or traditional Breaux Bridge home
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Bill Cassidy voted for 97 percent of the bills signed by Barack Obama.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on her campaign bus tour.
A New Iberia man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a 4-year-old girl and scalding her 3-year-old brother.
A district judge decided Wednesday against sanctioning attorney/school board candidate Dawn Morris for her behind-the-scenes role in a lawsuit against Mark Cockerham.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler says Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration may have improperly destroyed records in the state employee health insurance program, in the middle of a heavily-criticized rewrite of benefit plans.
Paper cites the former ADA's "experience as a prosecutor, his demonstrated integrity, and his ideas for reshaping the [DA's] office" in urging voters to support Keith Stutes Nov. 4.
Louisiana officials have sent a letter to the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene un-inviting members of the group who have recently been to ebola-affected West African countries from attending the group’s annual conference in New Orleans next week.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have to find a way to win on the road if they plan to take over first place in the NFC South.
"It is obvious that Louisiana economic performance has not outperformed the South or the United States as a whole and, in fact, has substantially underperformed..."
A state district judge said he will rule Friday on a preliminary injunction to keep some charter schools from receiving $60 million through Louisiana's public school financing formula.
Saints fans were to gather, make merry, eat/drink compliments of a new Downtown group and watch the Saints beat Carolina and claim 1st place in the NFC South. But...
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New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram doesn't see his dramatic spike in production as any sort of validation.