On October 4th, 8 amazing chefs from Louisiana are partnering with some Charleston chefs and restaurants to give diners a taste of Louisiana cuisine. Having only been to Nawlins for the first time in my life back in June (for a friend’s bachelorette party. Cliché? Yes. Fun? Also yes), I have to say that I’m really excited for this event! I loved the culture and colors of New Orleans, which reminded me of a younger, wilder Charleston (not to be confused with Savannah, which tries a little too hard to be just like Charleston but will always be a pale imitation… but I digress).
The idea behind the event is to give Charleston diners a chance to experience the distinct flavors and flair of Louisiana seafood and fare without having to leave the Lowcountry. Hopefully, you’ll fall in love with the food so much, you’ll book a ticket to Louisiana for vacation right away, or at least that’s what Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser hopes, anyway.
“In Louisiana, good food is just part of what connects us to our diverse heritage, and we want to bring this experience to the people of Charleston,” said Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “Just like here in Louisiana, people in Charleston have a passion for food. While we are cooking up a bit of Louisiana to the Lowcountry, the best way to experience Louisiana seafood is to come down and enjoy it in its natural setting.”
To get you excited for the Louisiana in the Lowcountry event, I did an interview with Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser (and event organizer) to get a little peek behind the curtain:
Sydney Gallimore: What should people expect at this event?
Billy Nungesser: We’re bringing these great Louisiana chefs and going into well known and established Charleston restaurants to showcase the Louisiana flavor. Not just food, but atmosphere as well. When we cook it’s a party, not a meal. There’s a unique way of preparing the food and the fun and energy and passion that goes into Louisiana cooking
SG: How does Louisiana seafood differ from Charleston?
BN: Louisiana shrimp and oysters caught in the gulf have more of a distinct flavor. They’re bigger and fatter in the gulf; you can really tell the difference in both the taste and the texture. I think Louisiana seafood tastes better than seafood caught anywhere else, although I might be a bit biased.
SG: What are you most excited for during the event?
BN: I’m excited because the people of South Carolina are similar to the people of Louisiana; they’re friendly, they treat you like family, they tell you “hello” on the street. I think there’s a great connection and partnership and I think that’s why people from Louisiana love visiting South Carolina and vice versa. We experience new things, but we still feel at home.
SG: What inspired this event / how did it come to fruition?
BN: The idea came about because we do the great American Seafood Cook Off in Louisiana every year. We had 11 chefs down from all over the US this year to compete and we brought in outside food critics to judge. Seeing the fellowship among chefs from Louisiana and all over the country grew into us going into other places and bringing the fun of Louisiana into other cities around the country. We hope to grow on this event every year and keep it in Charleston as an annual event.
SG: I noticed there aren’t any female chefs that are included in the partnership, both coming from Louisiana and in Charleston. What the culinary atmosphere like for women in Louisiana?
BN: Wow that’s very unusual. In recent years, we’ve had women learning the trade under great chefs like Emeril, going out and growing the female presence in the culinary scene here in the Louisiana. We had a number of female chefs participating in the GASC and we’re seeing a lot more women in the trade. We invited a number of chefs from around Louisiana and they were chosen based on their availability. You have my word that next year we’ll be sure to get more women involved.
SG: Anything else you want to share?
BN: I’m really excited because Charleston is a special place! I’m looking forward to the opportunity to meet new friends and experience some of the great new restaurants in Charleston. I think it’s a great match and a great partnership and I’m hoping for it to boost tourism in both Louisiana and Charleston as well. Hopefully it’ll be a long great tradition!
Learn more about this event: http://www.louisianaxlowcountry.com/