One of the perks of this job is getting asked to judge wine and food events. Such was the case Aug. 17, when the Baton Rouge Epicurean Society hosted its 12th annual Fête Rouge Food & Wine Fête.
Joining me on The Advocate tasting team were photo manager John Ballance and Metro editor Kelly Kissel. Guiding us through the flight of 12 red wines was sommelier Kenny LaCour. After sampling the imported red blends, our top three picks were: Gold — Les Heritiques Pays d’ Herault; Silver — Castella di Ami Chianti; and Bronze — Chateau Coutet.
Our fellow tasters included Whitney Vann, Kim Bronikowski, Karen and Bill Profita, Helen Graf, T-Bob Hebert, Kate Adams, Charles Hanagriff, James Fox-Smith, Chad Sabadie, Gerron Jordan and Kelly Lee.
They doled out gold medals to: Waris-Larmandier “Racines de Trois” Brute Champagne, France; 2017 Ferrari Carano fume blanc, Sonoma County; 2017 Lange Twins Rose of Sangiovese, Lodi; 2017 Grayson Cellars California chardonnay and 2016 Crossbarn chardonnay; 2016 Tolosa No Oak chardonnay and 2016 Crossbarn Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast; 2014 Hindsight cabernet sauvignon, Napa Valley, and 2015 Stuhlmuller cabernet sauvignon, Alexander Valley; 2015 Rodney Strong Upshot red blend, California; and 2015 K Vintners River Rock syrah, Walla Walla, Washington.
After we sampled all the wines, we joined the rest of the oenophiles and gourmands in sipping and eating our way through the Renaissance Hotel reception room where Louisiana Lagniappe’s Caron Wandell captured the People's Choice medal for her Fish en Papillot. Bergeron’s City Market chef Lauren Silvernail took home Best of Show honors as well as the gold medal for her Salted Caramel Cheesecake dessert.
Also taking home gold medals in the culinary competition were: Meat category — Bergeron's City Market chef Curtis Froelich's Cherry & Pinot Glazed Pork Cheeks; Seafood — Tsunami chef Kirt Hoang’s Cobia Ceviche; and Louisiana Flavor — Kalurah Street Grill chef Kelley McCann’s Sweet Caroline Capin. Other participating restaurants included Adrian’s, Bin 77 Bistro & Wine, Cupcake Junkie, 18 Steak at L’Auberge Hotel & Casino, French Market Bistro, Juban’s Restaurant, Mansurs on the Boulevard, Parrain’s Restaurant and Stinky’s Fish Camp.
I ducked out for a little while to stop by the Crowne Plaza where Heritage Ranch was holding its 10th annual gala. I immediately ran into Terri and Conway LeBlanc and Shirley Porter, and then found Executive Director Vicki Ellis.
Among this year’s major sponsors were Drs. Jessica and André Bruni, Cheryl and Martin Brodnax, Mary Lee and Bill Dixon, Dadie and Princeton Bardwell, Shawna and Ty Gosse, Lyndsi and Jon LeBlanc, Kim and Brian Littles, Carol Ann and Adrian Nadeau, Shara and George Stovewski and state Sen. Rick Ward III.
Heather Bush and Noah Conquorgood co-chaired the gala. Committee members included Christi Adams, Brittany Barback, Danielle Guzzardo, Janine Borne, Shonda Boudet, Kasey Cangelosi, Shelley Chesney, Cindy Dietrich, Carrington Dews, Leah Edrington, Meredith Eicher, Lauren Haddox, Amy Horn, Hal Holloway, Danielle Harris, Bobby Johnson, Kathy Lagarde, Kimely Pitre, Lindsey Roussel, Jennifer Stephens, Teresa Whitaker, Ruth Whitaker, Kristen White and Kate Williams.
Music, good food and drink, and friends old and new proved the perfect recipe for Opéra Louisiane’s Summer Soirée on Aug. 16 at the Baton Rouge Country Club. Trays of sparkling wine and tempting hors d’oeuvres welcomed guests. I enjoyed catching up with Deborah Todd, Debbie and John L. Daniel, Ira Paul Babin, John Jackson, Bettsie Baker Miller, Sue Rainer, Kathy Baker, Becky and Warren Gottsengen, Dr. Stan and Charlene Montelaro, Whitney Vann and Robert Schneckenberger, and tablemates Stafford Wood, Sean Matassa, Monique Scott Spaulding and Executive Director Leanne Clement.
By the time we reached dessert, I had agreed to take part in Opéra Louisiane’s Sing & Swing celebrity karaoke competition in January. Stay tuned for more details on this upcoming adventure.
As we settled into dinner, we were entertained (and I do mean entertained — the theme was “Naughty is Nice”) between courses by mezzo-soprano Claire Choquette, sopranos Elana Gleason and Grace Claire McCrary, and tenors Kevin Harvey and André Chiang. They were accompanied by pianist Louis Wendt and artistic director Michael Borowitz.
Before joining the opera crowd, I stopped by the lovely home of Elizabeth and Scott McKnight for the traditional get-together of the host committee for the Louisiana Art & Science Museum’s upcoming gala, which takes place Oct. 5. Members were asked to bring two bottles of wine to the event — one that will be part of the gala’s silent auction, the other to be consumed at the party. I joked with Executive Director Carol Gikas and development director Don Hill that I was going to wait outside the front door and relieve them of their bottles as they arrived.
If the wine contributions are any indication, the 33rd “In Motion” gala should be a fabulous night.
Saturday had me popping in to visit good friend Brien Buxton at his new stomping grounds, Elude Salon. It was one the many business establishments at The Settlement rolling out the red carpet for an open house/street party that featured music, food trucks and artists peddling their wares under a line of tents circling the parking lot. It was delightful to meet salon owners Jovi and Sean Tomeny, and catch up with Metro Councilman Matt Watson, who also dropped by.
Ron Leboeuf and Laura Klatter Hill were crowned King and Queen Orion XXI at the krewe’s royalty announcement party Aug. 11 at the home of Angie and Darren Coates. They were introduced by emcee Larry Rosendahl, who began the presentation by welcoming last year’s royals, King Chad Coppola and Queen Sonya Morris. They were presented commemorative medallions by krewe Captain Coates and President Charles Harvey.
Rounding out the 2019 court are maids Anna Claire Brock, daughter of Marie and Jase Brock and a student at LSU, where she is a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority; Mary Francis Sadler, daughter of Sandy and Chris Sadler and a junior at Episcopal High School; and Elaine Holland Garner, daughter of Hillary and Eric Garner and a student a LSU, where she is a member Delta Delta Delta sorority.
Pages to the queen are her and husband Justin Hill’s daughter, Lucy Karen Hill; Maria Cecile Couvillion, daughter of Johanna and Jeremy Couvillion, and Peyton Elizabeth Lambert, daughter of Monique and Dusty Lambert.
Pages to the king are Tyler Thomas Foreman, son of Kristen and Ty Foreman; Matthew Robert Pavlik, son of Michelle and Rob Pavlik; and Trey Simpson, son of Natalie and Bill Simpson.
They will all reign at krewe’s Masquerade Ball, which follows its Mardi Gras parade through downtown Baton Rouge the night of Feb. 23.
Symphony League Tea
On Aug. 12, the Baton Rouge Symphony League hosted its annual Fall Tea at the Baton Rouge Country Club fêteing its Les Jeunes Amies seniors. LJA is a service organization composed of league members' daughters and granddaughters, who perform volunteer service benefiting the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra and the Louisiana Youth Orchestra. They will be presented at the league’s Bal de la Symphonie on Dec. 8.
Welcoming the LJAs, moms and grandmothers were advisers Paula Davis, Susan White and Kelly Williams.
The honorees included Katherine Grace Ashy, daughter of Shelia and Kevin Ashy; Holly Anne Belleau, daughter of Erin and Chris Belleau; Abby Frances Blaize, daughter of Marci and Charles Blaize; Mary Katherine Bolton, daughter of Karen and Matthew Bolton; Lillian Grace Bourgeois, daughter of Megan Flynn Bourgeois and Curtis A. Bourgeois; Anna Katherine Carriere, daughter of Kristy and Michael M. Carriere II; Victoria Claire Collier, daughter of Lisa and Scott Collier; Leanne Adams Livingston, daughter of Sarah and Craig Livingston; Katherine Claire McCullen, daughter of Karen Nezat McCullen and Michael Troy McCullen; and Gracie Joy Poe, daughter of Jennifer and Jason Poe.
Also, Ava Shelley Reinecke, daughter of Shelley and Tommy Reinecke; Greer Louise Rice, daughter of Cindy and Jeff Rice; Brenley Claire Rinaudo, daughter of Brandi and Chris Rinaudo; Grace Olivia Sceroler, daughter of Allison and Craig Sceroler; Kate Ashton Stanford, daughter of Sheila and Geoff Stanford; Jenny Clare Stauss, daughter of Jennifer and Edward Stauss; Camille Ellaina Taylor, daughter of Drs. Yolunda and Jonathan Taylor; Katharine Jane Trussell, daughter of Anita and Scott Trussell; Emily Elizabeth White, daughter of Susan and Otey White; and Judith Ursula Williams, daughter of Kelly and Chris Williams.