Emeril’s Carnivale Weekend Celebration Brought Together Food, Wine, and Entertainment Celebrities In Support of Children’s Causes
NEW ORLEANS (November 14, 2012) – At the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s 8th Annual Carnivale du Vin on Saturday, November 3, over 600 guests joined the country’s premiere chefs, vintners, and musical entertainment at the New Orleans Convention Center for the Foundation’s signature annual gala and wine auction. Emeril’s Carnivale fundraising weekend was kicked off by the second annual Boudin & Beer, an indoor/outdoor food and music festival that celebrated all things Louisiana at the Foundry on Friday, November 2.
This year’s Carnivale du Vin raised over $2.2 million to support the Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s year-round efforts to transform the lives of children in New Orleans and the Gulf South. Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Foundation supports children’s causes focusing on culinary arts, school food and nutrition, and arts and education programs. The Foundation’s efforts have supported initiatives including the NOCCA Culinary Arts Studio, Emeril’s Culinary Center at St. Michael Special School, Café Reconcile, and more.
“I’m blown away by the generosity and support of our friends across the country — thank you to all the chefs, winemakers, sponsors and donors who have helped to make Boudin & Beer and Carnivale du Vin incredibly successful,” says Emeril Lagasse. “It’s a great privilege to give back to the young people in our community, and we all had a great time coming together in support of some very meaningful programs.”
Carnivale weekend was off to an exciting start on November 2 with the second annual Abita Beer Presents Emeril’s Boudin and Beer sponsored by Buffalo Trace. Held at the Foundry, the charity bash was hosted by Emeril Lagasse and honorary co-chairs Mario Batali and Donald Link. At Boudin & Beer, 3,000 guests sampled boudin, each station with a creative culinary approach to this Louisiana staple offered by fifty of the country’s hottest chefs, including the most generous New Orleans chef community that has supported the Emeril Foundation for years. Abita Beer pulled out all the stops featuring their entire product offering of specialty casks, firkins, and craft brews. As for music, Cajun, roots, rock, and country were all represented as guests enjoyed the talents of Drake White, Feufollet, and Red Stick Ramblers, with a special performance by the 610 Stompers.
The Emeril Lagasse Foundation was pleased to see their vision come to reality in every detail, as the small staff worked tirelessly to create a warm and festive atmosphere that would make this festival stand out among local benefits, with the help of many generous sponsors – from the Foundry to the JCPenny Tasting Pavilion to the Abita Beer garden and Rouses entertainment stage, with a Garden & Gun lounge and Buffalo Trace Bourbon Tent in between, the event left no spot on the parking lot outside the Foundry uninhabited. And finishing with a Nat Sherman cigar tent, scotch along with many other specialty bars from Republic, Sammy Hagar’s new Beach Bar Rum, a Sucré gelato truck and Zac Brown Band’s kitchen on wheels, “Cookie,” this block came alive with energy. Thanks to emcees of the night Rita Benson LeBlanc and Mark Romig, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, sponsors, guest chefs and co-hosts were acknowledged for helping create the best new festival in New Orleans.
The next evening, more than 600 guests attended the sold-out Carnivale du Vin gala and wine auction, with a “Speak Easy Bid Loud” roaring 20’s theme. Flappers dancers, red roses and silver bichon linens accented the La Nouvelle ballroom. The event began with the Emeril’s Bacchus Reception, featuring a special bottling of Pride Mountain Merlot from 2012 Honorary Bacchus Suzanne Pride Bryan, a seafood bar from new sponsor Louisiana Seafood, charcuterie and cheese selections by Michael Chiarello, glasses of Louis Roederer Brut Premier, and white wine from Presqu’ile Winery and Kosta Browne. Chef Emeril and Alden Lagasse toasted Bob Cabral of Williams Selyem in Sonoma, named the 2012 Event Honoree for his kindness and generosity as a devoted member of the “Krewe du Vin.” Earlier this year, Cabral was honored by Wine Enthusiast as the “Winemaker of the Year.”
Guests then enjoyed a spectacular five-course wine pairings dinner prepared by Mario Batali, Joseph Lenn, Tyler Florence, Marc Forgione, Michelle Gayer, Arista Winery, Caymus Vineyards, Roederer Estate, Crocker & Starr and Williams Selyem. The Krewe du Vin of these celebrity chefs were assisted by local students from NOCCA’s culinary program, including NOCCA graduates Grace Treffinger and Janee Taylor who flew in from Chicago and Rhode Island to help.
Highlights from the menu included Batali’s Handmade Orecchiette with Duck Ragu and Black Truffle Fonduta, Forgione’s Veal Tenderloin, Boudin Noir, Pomme Puree, Honeycrisp Apples, and Mustard Gastrique finished with Gayer’s Jarred Forelle Pears with Baked Alaska; Pear Infused Mascarpone Mousse with Pear Granité; and Forelle Pear Gallette, Semifreddo, and Torched Meringue paired, and Bissinger’s delights for mignardises.
The Speak Easy Bid Loud live auction, led by Ursula Hermacinski showcased exquisite wines and unique travel experiences. Popular items included a trip to Blackberry Farm in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, featuring an extravagant long weekend of food and drinks with Chef Joseph Lenn, Chef Emeril Lagasse, and Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat Winery that sold for $100,000; and the 7th annual birthday weekend celebration in Cabo San Lucas with Emeril and Sammy Hagar, which with this year’s $200,000 bid has raised a total of $1,050,000. The “Roaring 20s” evening would not have been complete without Preservation Hall Jazz Band featuring Cassandra Wilson, and the soulful sounds of Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.