As New Orleans celebrates festival season, there will be a celebration in New York the first weekend of May that continues to emphasize New Orleans as a culinary capital.

The James Beard Foundation annually acknowledges and celebrates all aspects of America’s culinary accomplishments.

This year four chefs from New Orleans will be competing in the Best Chef South Region category: Justin Deviller (La Petite Grocery); Tory McPhail (Commander’s Palace); Alon Shaya (Domenica) and Sue Zemanick (Gautreau’s). New Orleans is well-represented by these chefs, which are four of the five nominees in the category.

As a board member of the James Beard Foundation, it’s an honor to represent New Orleans.

Our community continues to bring hard work and cutting-edge flavors, presentation and service to guests. Each of these restaurants focuses on fresh, local ingredients and continues to support our ecosystem and promote Louisiana’s culture to the fullest.

Local restaurants serving fresh local ingredients are a real reason to celebrate for locals and visitors alike. Currently, Tom Fitzmorris recognizes 1,346 restaurants open and operating in the New Orleans area. That’s more than were open prior to Katrina. As we knock on the door of the 300th anniversary of the city, there is much to celebrate about our food, our culture and our history.

So, as you two-step at Jazz Fest or eat out in a local restaurant, know that New Orleans is being well-represented in New York during the annual James Beard Foundation Awards. Chef Justin, Chef Tory, Chef Alon and Chef Sue, good luck and congratulations on your nomination. You are all excellent ambassadors of our industry and our city.

Dickie Brennan


New Orleans