FAIR GROUNDS, LOUISIANA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR NUNGESSER AND DEPARTMENT OF CULTURE, RECREATION AND TOURISM JOINTLY ANNOUNCE CELEBRITY CHEF EVENT TO BENEFIT RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES® OF SOUTH LOUISIANA
NEW ORLEANS – Together with Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, and Ronald McDonald House Charities® of South Louisiana, Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots today announced the “Taste of the Louisiana Derby” Celebrity Chef and Charity Gala will be held Thursday, March 21, 2019, at 7p.m. In its inaugural year, the event, benefitting the Ronald McDonald House Charities® of South Louisiana will be held at mid-city venue, The Cannery, and is a culmination of the “Feed Your Soul” Louisiana cultural campaign in unison with Derby Week and the 106th running of Fair Grounds’ Louisiana Derby March 23, 2019.
Featuring Louisiana seafood culinary creations by several of the regions’ top Celebrity Chefs including Cory Bahr, owner of Parish Restaurant and Heritage Catering of Monroe, LA; Frank Brigtsen, purveyor of New Orleans-based Brigtsen’s Restaurant; Michael Brewer, Corporate Chef for Brechtel Hospitality; and Nathan Richard, Executive Chef at well-known New Orleans restaurant, Cavan. The fundraiser will also include entertainment by Robin Barnes. Barnes, whose unique blend of funky jazz, soul and rhythm and blues has earned her local notoriety as the “Songbird of New Orleans” will also be performing the National Anthem at the venerable Track on Louisiana Derby Day. In addition, a live auction will feature a 2019 Kentucky Derby® Experience including hotel and airfare, 2019 Louisiana Derby Suite Experience, Rolling Stones Jazz Fest tickets and more.
“The Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism takes great pride in working with leaders across the state to promote our food, music, arts, culture, history, and most importantly our people as what make Louisiana special. This event is a natural connection to our commitment of bringing one of the many shining stars of Louisiana heritage to the forefront to help the families that utilize the Ronald McDonald House to support the recovery of their children at the many health services providers in the New Orleans Metropolitan area. We are truly elated to be a part of such a worthy effort,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser.
“Our hearts go out to the many families and their children that come to the New Orleans area for critical medical care. As a long-time supporter of the community, we are excited to support this event on the cusp of the 106th running of the Louisiana Derby to raise money for the many efforts of the Ronald McDonald House and its impact across the region,” said Doug Shipley, president of Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.
Families from all areas of Louisiana, the United States, and foreign countries travel to New Orleans, often on an emergency basis, for a child’s medical treatment provided by area health care facilities. Ronald McDonald House Charities® of South Louisiana provides housing, meals, and transportation to families regardless of their ability to pay. “We rely on a community of donors and volunteers, and the generosity of people at wonderful events like the ‘Taste of the Louisiana Derby’ for the ability to provide comfort and care to these families while keeping them near the medical care their children desperately need,” said the charity’s Executive Director Corey Staehle.
The funds raised by the event will help cover the costs associated with housing, feeding, and transporting families to medical providers. While there is a suggested donation of $10 per night for each room, the actual costs are close to $100, and only about 30 percent of guests are able to pay anything at all. Staehle adds, “Donors at these events are a critical source of funding for our House, and we’d like to thank all of the sponsors, especially Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism and Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser for making it all possible.”
Donations toward and tickets for the “Taste of the Louisiana Derby” fundraiser are $125 each, or two for $200, for general admission. Sponsorship opportunities are also available by contacting Steve Faure, Communications Manager at Ronald McDonald House Charities® of South Louisiana at 504-486-6668 or by visiting https://derby.rmhc-sla.org.
Chef Cory Bahr
With accolades including Food & Wine’s “People’s Best New Chef” in America, Taste of the South’s “Taste 50” and Food Network’s “Chopped!” champion, the 2011 King of Louisiana Seafood, and Louisiana Cookin’ magazine’s “Chef to Watch,” Cory serves as a culinary ambassador for the state of Louisiana, a regular host of the Louisiana Seafood Cook-off and The Great American Seafood Cook-off, a director of the Louisiana Travel Association, and the only non-New Orleans chef serving on the Audubon Nature Institute’s “Gulf United for Lasting Fisheries Chef Council.” Cory Bahr is also a spokesman for NOLA Tree Project’s #GreauxHealthyKids campaign and a passionate proponent for access to fresh, healthy food for all children.
Chef Frank Brigtsen
Chef Frank is at the forefront of a new generation of New Orleans chefs who are revitalizing Creole/Acadian cooking. Co-owner of Brigtsen’s Restaurant with his wife, Marna, Frank has applied an inventive personal touch to seven years of training in classic Louisiana cooking under internationally acclaimed Chef Paul Prudhomme. Previously, Food & Wine named Frank “One of America’s Top Ten New Chefs.” He also received the James Beard Award for “American Express Best Chef: Southeast” in 1998. Chef Brigtsen is a strong believer in culinary education and shares his passion for Creole and Acadian cuisine through his roles as Adjunct Professor at the John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University and Chef-in-Residence at the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA). He is a member of the American Culinary Federation.
Chef Mike Brewer
Chef Brewer was crowned 2015 King of Louisiana Seafood and voted Top 100 Bartenders in America 2008 by Grand Marnier. Since 2015, Brewer has collaborated and consulted with several New Orleans and Baton Rouge restaurants including Manning’s, Morton’s the Steakhouse, Mi Mamacita’s, The Riverview Room, and City Pork. Currently, Brewer is the Corporate Chef for Brechtel Hospitality – New Orleans’ premier restaurant management and development company – where he oversees the culinary operations for Fulton Alley, Vintage Rock Club, Bonfire Catering, and helms the newest concept as Executive Chef of Copper Vine. Brewer also takes much pride regularly representing the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board at national events.
Chef Nathan Richard
Chef Richard began his career at Commander’s Palace in 2003. After brief stints in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Charleston, South Carolina, Richard returned to his home state in 2011 where he fine-tuned his sausage-making and charcuterie skills at Cochon Lafayette. He later accepted a position at New Orleans’ Restaurant R’evolution, where he translated his wealth of knowledge into a career as butcher and curator of the charcuterie program for more than two years. Simultaneously, Richard became an adjunct Professor at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University and continues to teach Advanced Garde Manger and whole animal butchering. In early 2017, Richard became executive chef at Cavan, where he draws on his experiences to enhance the restaurant’s southern coastal flavors.
About Ronald McDonald House
Ronald McDonald House Charities® of South Louisiana is a leader in facilitating family-centered care for pediatric patients undergoing medical treatment at New Orleans-area health care providers. The Ronald McDonald House program keeps families close by providing housing, meals, transportation and a supportive environment for parents facing the most difficult times of their lives. The Comfort Cart program includes service to local patients and their families in area pediatric healthcare facilities. Our Comfort Carts provide drinks, snacks, gifts and reading material to over 800 children and 2,000 of their family members annually at no charge to the family or the hospital.
About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots (“Fair Grounds”), the nation’s third-oldest racetrack, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, Fair Grounds is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN). Fair Grounds also operates 14 OTBs (12 with video poker facilities) throughout southeast Louisiana. Live racing at Fair Grounds is underway with the 147th Thoroughbred Racing Season – highlighted by the 106th running of the Louisiana Derby, March 23, 2019.
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Mark A. Conner
Sr. Director of Marketing
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots
Ronald McDonald House® Charities of South Louisiana
Office of the Lt. Governor