Second Annual NOLA's Backyard


F&B executives take inspiration from the food ways and folk ways of Louisiana Bayou country.

A group of food and beverage executives from major hotel and restaurant groups gathered in October for our second annual NOLA’s Backyard conference without classrooms. They heard the stories and met the characters, the farmers, the fishermen, the producers, and the cooks who make this one of the most colorful regions in the United States. They learned about the culinary contributions of the seven nations that created the modern day gumbo that makes Louisiana cuisine so exciting.

Sugah! Sugah! was the theme. They hit the cane fields, visited a sugar house, and followed the process from cane to candy. They were surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of the cane harvest. They dined like the sugar barons on the grounds of Chef John Folse’s White Oak Plantation in Baton Rouge, a Greek Revival mansion on sweeping manicured grounds graced with massive oaks.

Chef John Folse, a raconteur par excellence and an expert on Louisiana history, led the road trip through the Bayous.

Chicago Chef Takes top Prize

Chicago Chef Takes Top Prize

By Tricia Contreras, June 07, 2016.

Chef Jason Paskewitz of Chicago’s The Blanchard beat out a dozen other chefs to win first place in the 19th annual Championship BBQ and Cookout in Chicago last month. The event drew more than 800 restaurant, food service and hospitality professionals to Galleria Marchetti on May 22 to sample barbecue dishes and cocktails from participating chefs and bartenders and support World Central Kitchen, an international organization founded by chef Jose Andres to seek smart solutions to end hunger and poverty.

Paskewitz presented grilled duck sausage with foie gras mustard and onion confit on a brioche bun. “It’s indicative of what I do at The Blanchard. It’s a French restaurant, so I had to get some foie gras in there,” he said.

Duck may not be common barbecue fare, but this is the second year in a row that the Championship BBQ and Cookout judging panel awarded a chef for taking a risk with an unusual protein. Last year’s winner, Stephen “Smokey” Schwartz of Burnt End BBQ in Kansas, impressed the judges with a dish of rabbit.

Second place went to chef Cory Morris of Rural Society for his short rib with elote garnish and white barbecue sauce. Also a winner that evening was Unilever Food Solutions, which took home the honor of best table design. The tablescape was “fashioned after a roadside grill as a fictional customer on the company’s Burger Route,” Senior Channel Marketing Manager Jen Rosman said. “We wanted to highlight, if you were a fast casual restaurant, this is what it could look like in your restaurant.”

This year’s BBQ was held in honor of Michael Batterberry, founder of Food Arts and Food and Wine magazines. “We are proud to produce this world class event, spotlighting the tremendous culinary talent in Chicago,” said Barbara Mathias, event organizer and former publisher of Food Arts magazine. “We are equally proud to be able to bring together this community of the restaurant industry and suppliers, and to support such a worthy charity. We are looking forward to our 20th celebration next May!”

SmartBrief is the media sponsor of the Championship BBQ and Cookout.

This article was originally posted by SmartBrief.