Alligator Sausage and Crawfish Étouffée Balls are Normal
The Louisiana Seafood Festival reels in the best chefs and food in the state
Something we do particularly well in Louisiana is eat food for charitable causes. It doesn’t take much convincing to attend an event that not only features some of the best chefs, but also raises money to help others. The Louisiana Seafood Festival is just such an event and will take place Friday, September 2 to Sunday, September 4 at the City Park Festival Grounds.
Organized by the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, the festival has always been a fundraiser to help the Foundation accomplish their charitable goals. This year, due to good timing and bad weather, the Foundation will be able to increase their impact.
“We recently approved a revised mission that is focused on helping members of the hospitality industry in times of financial crisis,” said Jennifer Kelley, executive director of the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation. “We will continue giving grants to help alleviate costs from medical bills, help with temporary housing assistance, unplanned funeral expenses and more. Festival proceeds will help this type of community outreach.”
Money that was raised from past festivals was donated in the form of grants to educational and children-focused organizations, as well as to individuals who work in the hospitality industry who had come across some type of financial crisis. This year, the Foundation will help flood victims and will distribute proceeds from the festival to help members of Louisiana’s hospitality industry impacted by the flooding.
So what’s to eat? The festival promises 27 food vendors who will offer 56 seafood dishes, 11 non-seafood dishes and 5 desserts. Louisiana’s six indigenous seafood species will be represented and festival-goers can dine on alligator, fish, crab, shrimp, crawfish and oysters. You can review the menus and plan in advance at the festival’s website. Old school favorites like Drago’s charbroiled oysters and Miss Linda’s Ya-Ka-Mein will be available, and new vendors like Ajun Cajun and Voleo’s Seafood are increasing the festival’s culinary footprint.
“Our food vendors have put a lot of effort and creativity into their menus for the festival,” said Glen Armantrout, Foundation 1st vice president and the festival co-chair. “If you are a foodie, this is your seafood paradise. These menus will blow your mind!”
One of my favorite aspects of the festival is the choice of cooking demonstrations. Especially for those unfamiliar with Louisiana seafood cooking techniques, the demonstrations teach you recipes and skills that are more valuable (and tasty) than any souvenir you can buy. And chefs like Susan Spicer of Bayona and Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace are great storytellers too. The Cooking Pavilion will feature chefs daily and the schedule can be found online here.
Advance tickets are on sale for $8 per day, advance weekend ticket packages are $22, and children 55 inches and under will be admitted free when accompanied by a paying adult. Ticket prices will increase beginning Friday, September 2 to $10 per day and $25 for a weekend ticket package. The festival is rain or shine; all ticket sales are final, and remember that proceeds are going to help those hospitality workers impacted by the flood.