Out of an abundance of caution and concern for all of our guests, vintners, chefs and sponsors, both traveling from outside of Louisiana and those who reside here, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience, originally scheduled to start March 18. We recognize that our stakeholders may be feeling constrained by the COVID-19 outbreak, and we hope this decision lifts some burden on resources and uncertainty. As a non-profit entity, we rely on our event proceeds to fulfill our mission in continuing culinary education throughout the region, therefore we are deep in planning for our rescheduled event at a later date in 2020, and look forward to sharing that information soon. Purchased tickets will be honored for our new 2020 dates or for our 2021, or 2022 event. In the meantime, we urge our local audience to support our restaurants, hotels and vendors affected by this situation, as well as our beneficiaries for the 2020 event—New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute (NOCHI) and Café Reconcile.
Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement Award Dinner set for January 29, 2020
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience (NOWFE) has announced that the 2020 Ella Brennan Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award will be presented to Louisiana’s culinary ambassador to the world, Chef John Folse. The gala celebration will take place on January 29, 2020 at 7pm at Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans. “The breadth of Chef Folse’s contributions to the hospitality and culinary industry, as well as his support of so many non-profit organizations, cannot be understated,” said Ewell Smith, incoming NOWFE President. “It’s difficult to imagine a more deserving recipient of this honor.”
Chef John Folse, born in St. James Parish in 1946, learned early that the secrets of Cajun cooking lay in the unique ingredients of Louisiana’s swamp floor pantry. Folse seasoned these raw ingredients with his passion for Louisiana culture and cuisine, and from his cast iron pots emerged Chef John Folse & Company. When Folse opened Lafitte’s Landing Restaurant in 1978 in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, he set out to market his restaurant by taking “a taste of Louisiana” worldwide, including Japan, Beijing, Hong Kong, Paris, Moscow, London, Bogota, Taipei and Seoul. In 1988, the Sales and Marketing Executives of Greater Baton Rouge named Folse “Marketer of the Year” and the Louisiana Legislature gave him the title of “Louisiana’s Culinary Ambassador to the World.”
Folse opened The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana in October 1994. It is dedicated to the preservation of Louisiana’s rich culinary and cultural heritage. In August 1996, Folse began broadcasting his radio cooking talk show, “Stirrin’ It Up.” In 2001, “Stirrin’ It Up” expanded to a television cooking segment during the 5 p.m. newscast on WAFB-TV Channel 9 in Baton Rouge. In 2010, Folse announced his business partnership with Chef Rick Tramonto and the formation of the new restaurant development company Home on the Range: Folse Tramonto Restaurant Development, LLC. The partners opened, Restaurant R’evolution, at the Royal Sonesta Hotel New Orleans in June 2012. Folse is also the author of nine cookbooks, including Chef John Folse’s Plantation Celebrations (1994), The Encyclopedia of Cajun & Creole Cuisine (2004), and After the Hunt-Louisiana’s Authoritative Collection of Wild Game & Game Fish Cookery (2007).
Folse has received numerous national and international accolades over the course of his 30-plus year career. Some of those awards include the American Culinary Federation’s “National Chef of the Year” and Research Chefs Association’s “Pioneers in Culinology” and later the Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the only chef ever to serve as chairman or president of the American Culinary Federation, DiRoNA, and the Research Chefs Association. In 2006, Folse was inducted into the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s College of Diplomates. In October 2008, Folse was awarded the Louisiana Governor’s Cultural Economic Development Arts Award. He holds honorary Doctorates of Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, and Baltimore International Culinary College. Folse’s contributions to philanthropic causes are abundant and include Cypress Springs Mercedarian Prayer Center and Sister Maria Dulce, the Archdiocese of New Orleans Retreat Center, Redstick Farmers Market in Baton Rouge, among many others.
The Ella Brennan Award recognizes one individual each year that has made a lifetime commitment to the hospitality industry through extraordinary leadership, personal and professional accomplishments and philanthropic contributions to the community. The Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Award is named for restaurateur legend Ella Brennan. Her deep passion and commitment has made a significant and longstanding impact on the New Orleans hospitality industry. The award’s past recipients include Chef Paul Prudhomme, philanthropist Bill Goldring, Chef Leah Chase, restaurateurs Drago and Klara Cvitanovich, Audubon leader Ron Forman, local restaurateur Ralph Brennan, celebrity chef and philanthropist Emeril Lagasse, and tourism industry icon Mark Romig.
Tickets to the event are now available at nowfe.com for $175 per person, or $1500 per table. VIP tables for 10 are also available for $2500 and include entrance to the VIP reception from 6 – 7 PM. Proceeds from the awards gala benefit the many local non-profit organizations that NOWFE supports throughout the year.
NOWFE 2020 is set for March 18 - 22, 2020.
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For more than 27 years the New Orleans Wine & Food Experience has showcased the culinary excellence in our community alongside national and international wines at wine dinners in many of the city’s finest restaurants; at VINOLA, a premium tasting event; at the iconic Royal Street Stroll; at dozens of culinary seminars and demonstrations; and ultimately at the Grand Tastings. NOWFE is a non-profit organization with proceeds going to causes that support culinary education. It has raised more than $1.5 million for local non-profit organizations. www.nowfe.com.