The 9th Annual Carnivale du Vin and 3rd Annual Boudin, Bourbon & Beer Draw Thousands of Patrons in Support of Children’s Causes
NEW ORLEANS (November 19, 2013) – It was a culinary celebration of massive proportions in New Orleans as the Emeril Lagasse Foundation (ELF) hosted its annual fundraising weekend which raised $2.25 million. Festivities kicked off with the casual indoor/outdoor food festival, Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Boudin, Bourbon & Beer on November 8th. Co-chaired by Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali and Donald Link, the Southern Louisiana-inspired event drew over 4,000 people to New Orleans’ Warehouse District. The following evening, the Foundation hosted the sold-out Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Carnivale du Vin, its annual premier wine auction and black tie gala dinner. Funds raised at both events go to the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, which supports children’s educational programs, life skills development initiatives, culinary training, and cultural enrichment in New Orleans and the Gulf south.
“This year marked a record-breaking year for fundraising for the Foundation through these fantastic events,” says Emeril Lagasse. “I’m so grateful to all the participating chefs, vintners, sponsors, and the New Orleans community for their continued support. Because of their efforts and generosity, we are able to make a significant difference in children’s lives in our community.”
Adorned in cowboy boots and other casual garb, guests flocked to The Foundry and adjoining streets for Boudin, Bourbon & Beer, where they sampled boudin and artisan sausage from over 40 local and visiting chefs, including John Currence, Kelly English, Michael Gulotta, Justin Devillier, Sue Zemanick, Susan Spicer, and Ed Lee. The beer, bourbon, and wine flowed with an array of craft brews and special casks from sponsor Abita Beer, specialty cocktails from sponsor Buffalo Trace, and wine by Au Bon Climat, Justin Vineyards, and Landmark Vineyards. FIJI provided water throughout the evening.
Guests were greeted by the sounds of the St. Claude Serenaders as they entered the venue. Packway Handle Band kicked things off on the Rouses entertainment stage, followed by Holy Ghost Tent Revival, and Lost Bayou Ramblers. The fest closed out with an amazing performance from rock musician Grace Potter, lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist of Grace Potter & the Nocturnals.
Just when patrons thought it couldn’t get any better, they were met with a little bit of lagniappe throughout the night, including a special performance by the 610 Stompers, a cigar bar by New York-based Nat Sherman, celebrity bartenders John Besh and Aarón Sánchez showcased their skills at the “pig pen” saloon, a smartphone silent auction with packages from Domenica, Martinique Bistro, Patois, and Calcasieu, merchandise this year from hats to posters, and a People’s Choice ballot with a drawing for a trip offered by Visit Florida. The People’s Choice was a tie between Emeril Lagasse and Tory McPhail, both recipients of James Beard Awards this past year.
The following evening, ELF kicked it up a notch with its 9th Annual Carnivale du Vin held at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. The high-end affair lured over 700 guests dressed in formal attire to the downtown hotel for an unforgettable night of fine wine, fantastic food, dynamic décor, and electrifying entertainment.
Patrons were welcomed to the Bacchus Reception with a glass of champagne from Louis Roederer and a beautiful display of its limited edition bottle of Cristal Jeroboam, valued at $26,000. During the reception, supporters sampled bites from guest chefs John Besh, Aarón Sánchez, Cat Cora, and Rick Moonen, each paired with a wine from Krewe du Vin Bacchus, Chuck Wagner with Wagner Family of Wine. Chuck was joined by his children Charlie Wagner II and Jenny Wagner. The honorees for the evening were Allison and Dan Kosta with Kosta Browne vineyard. Guest chefs were also paired with children from ELF beneficiaries, including NOCCA, Liberty’s Kitchen, Edible Schoolyard, and Café Reconcile.
Guests then enjoyed a spectacular four-course dinner prepared by the Emeril team and paired with wine from Cakebread Cellars, Williams Selyem, Pride Mountain Vineyards, and Roederer Estate.
Emeril’s signature dinner included an amuse bouche of yellow fin tuna soppressata from Emeril’s Delmonico, and then launched into the four-course meal of Alaskan king crab leg, lasagna Bolognese, pancetta wrapped moulard duck breast, and a dessert “storm” of banana cream pie crepes and chocolates by Chef Jacques Torres, and assorted cheeses from St. James Cheese Co.
Throughout the night, guests were able to peruse a silent auction ranging from items including nine limited edition bottles of Revelation Pinot Noir by Williams Selyem and Jonathan Cain from Journey, including a signed guitar, a tour, tasting and dinner for eight guests at Bevan Cellars, and a week-long stay in a private home on Bald Head Island. Grace Potter, who was at the gala with husband and drummer Matt Burr, offered up the guitar played at Boudin, Bourbon & Beer the night before, personalizing her signature on stage for the lucky bidder of $20,000. ELF Board Member Mark Romig emceed the evening and set the stage for a touching photo presentation by Robert X. Fogarty entitled “Dear World, Dear Emeril Live.” Other speakers included Bacchus Chuck Wagner, ELF Board Member Paul Frank, and Emeril and Alden Lagasse. The live auction was led by Ursula Hermacinski and showcased exquisite wines and unique travel experiences. Bidding wars were prevalent over popular items such as a trip to Santa Barbara to Au Bon Climat winery, a taco dinner by “Johnny Sánchez” with John Besh and Aarón Sánchez, and a painting by guest artist Kristen Wolfson featuring art from St. Michael Special School students. The 8th annual birthday weekend celebration with Emeril and Sammy Hagar – this year in Maui – received the highest bid of the night at $130,000. The package has raised a total of $1.18 million over the last eight years.
“The weekend was very special for Emeril, Alden and their family,” says ELF Executive Director Kristin Shannon. “From visiting St. Michael’s on Friday to seeing the students perform on their new stage to having lunch at Café Reconcile and hearing success stories to seeing Emeril and Alden sharing in the Carnivale du Vin program with their parents, their children and their extended families in attendance, proved to be very heartwarming for everyone involved. The Foundation staff did an amazing job, and the funds raised will help us continue to support important initiatives and programs in New Orleans and the Gulf South.”
About Emeril Lagasse Foundation:
Established in 2002 as the realization of Emeril Lagasse and his wife Alden Lagasse’s dream to improve the quality of young people’s lives, Emeril Lagasse Foundation (ELF) supports children’s education and non-profit organizations with culinary, nutrition, garden, arts and life skills programs. Since 2003, ELF has distributed more than $5.5 million in grants for children’s charities. Projects funded by the Foundation include an outdoor classroom, gardens, fresh foods cafeteria and teaching kitchen at Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, an accessible learning kitchen for special needs students at St. Michael Special School, a four-year culinary arts program for high school students at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Hospitality Center at Café Reconcile, and hospitality training at Liberty’s Kitchen for at-risk youth preparing healthy school meals. Each fall, the foundation hosts its signature annual fundraiser, Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Carnivale du Vin, which ranks among the “Top Ten U.S. Charity Wine Auctions” in Wine Spectator magazine. The Foundation introduced charity indoor/outdoor food and music fest, Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Boudin, Bourbon & Beer in 2011. In 2013, Emeril Lagasse was honored as the James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year. For more information, visit www.emeril.org.