A Lafayette pop-up restaurant, a city development organization and a handful of renowned Louisiana chefs are assembling to cook, sell and serve street food from around the world to raise funds for the Victory Garden’s pavilion area.
Billed as the Street Food Collective, the event is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. June 4 at Warehouse 535, 525 Garfield St. Seven chefs will cook food native to six different countries.
Sami Parbhoo, creator of World Food to Go, said it’s an easy yet cost-effective method to experience different cultures.
“In most countries, that’s the best thing you can get,” said Parbhoo. “You want to eat on the streets; that’s where you’re gonna get the freshest stuff, and it’s where the locals are eating. You don’t want to go to a five-star restaurant usually.”
Parbhoo started World Foods out of his and his wife’s home in 2013 and gave proceeds to local nonprofit organizations. For this event, Parbhoo turned to the culinary community in Lafayette for collaboration.
“Everybody wants to help everybody, and with my pop-ups, I’ve had people help,” he said. “They just want to help. I just thought it’d be a good thing to do another collaboration and draw more chefs.”
Participating chefs who will serve a variety of native foods include Jeremy Conner (Thai); Manny Augello (Italian/Sicilian); Mary Patout (Japanese); Zach Doise (Jamaican); Collin Cormier and Rob Sanberg (Mexican); and Parbhoo (Indian).
Tickets to the event are $50 and must be pre-ordered through streetfood collective.brownpapertickets.com.
Proceeds will help offset the cost of creating the pavilion.
The nonprofit organization Townfolk has funds for annual maintenance of the garden; however, proceeds from the fundraiser will directly go toward the pavilion, a project that will cost at least $10,000, according to TownFolk President Jennifer Doucet.
“It’s going to be costly; we’re going to use some good, heavy duty materials that are gonna be able to withstand the elements that we have here in Louisiana, so it’s not gonna be something that decays or can be compromised over time,” she said.
Located at the corner of Olivier Street and Monroe Street, Victory Garden is dedicated to Jillian Johnson, a Lafayette singer, graphic designer and TownFolk president who died in the Grand Theatre 16 shooting July 23.
Originally conceived by Johnson in 2010 as the Madison Street Creole Garden, the project was put on hold as TownFolk tried to find a place for the garden.
The organization revisited the project, and within a week, Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority proposed the location.
The garden is named after Johnson’s love for the word “victory” and as a nod to gardens that were grown during World Wars I and II to combat food rations.
With minor changes from Marcus Descant, the urban naturalist working on the garden, the design remains close to Johnson’s vision for the garden, according to The Independent.
The 12-by-12-foot pavilion area will be partially bordered with perennial herbs and tomatoes in the beds. The pavilion is connected by a path that leads to a tunnel, where plant vines can grow over.
Anyone can pick fruits, vegetables and herbs from the garden. Three beds that line the tunnel are completed and, according to Doucet, are already an attraction for residents.
“We’ve had neighbors tell us that they love to go to the garden and pick things,” Doucet said.
Long-term plans for the garden show space for a 10-by-18-foot greenhouse, rain barrels, compost areas and a chicken coop. According to Doucet, TownFolk will unveil more information about the garden — including its scheduled completion date — at this year’s Victory Festival.