The Emeril Lagasse Foundation (ELF) celebrated the 10th anniversary of its fundraising weekend on November 7 and 8 in New Orleans, raising over $2.25 million for children’s charities. The weekend kicked off at Champions Square in downtown New Orleans as 4,000 people attended the Louisiana-inspired Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Boudin, Bourbon & Beer, which was co-chaired by Emeril Lagasse and Donald Link. The following evening, the Foundation hosted the 10th annual Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s Carnivale du Vin, its premier wine auction and gala dinner. Ty Pennington served as master of ceremonies, with Broadway star Michael Cavanaugh providing musical entertainment. Funds raised at both events go to the Emeril Lagasse Foundation which supports children’s educational programs, life skills development initiatives, culinary training, and cultural enrichment.
Coming off the heels of two successful fundraisers, on Monday, the Foundation announced a $1.5 million pledge to the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and today announces another $50,000 in grants to children’s organizations in New Orleans including Covenant House, Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) and Kingsley House.
Earlier this year, ELF distributed a $250,000 grant to Orlando Junior Academy in Orlando, Florida to fund the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden, which will teach students how to source, grow, and prepare their food. The facility broke ground in October and will officially open in May 2015.
“We are thrilled with the success of this weekend, and are forever grateful to our generous donor community who allow us to make such a difference in so many children’s lives,” says Emeril Lagasse. “My wife Alden and I couldn’t do it without the support of our friends in the industry, all of our sponsors and participating chefs.”
Boudin, Bourbon & Beer expanded its footprint to Champions Square, and is quickly becoming one of New Orleans hottest outdoor events. Fifty-five of the country’s best chefs cooked up their take on boudin, including Hugh Acheson, Justin Devillier, Ed Lee, Susan Spicer, Andrea Reusing, Frank Stitt, and Ashley Christensen, along with many more of New Orleans culinary stars. Guests enjoyed an array of libations, including craft brews from Abita Beer, bourbon cocktails from Buffalo Trace, and wine from Au Bon Climat, Justin Vineyards and Landmark Vineyards. Patrons kicked up their boots to the sounds of headliner Grace Potter, Brooklyn-based The Lone Bellow, and Louisiana favorites Pine Leaf Boys and Sweet Crude.
The following evening, Emeril Lagasse Foundation celebrated a major milestone with the 10th anniversary of its annual nationally-recognized wine auction and gala dinner, Carnivale du Vin, held at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans. Live auction lots included a trip to Cabo San Lucas with Emeril Lagasse and Sammy Hagar and a trip to the Russian River Valley with wine stars Dan Kosta, Bob Cabral and Jonathan Cain of Journey. Visiting guest chefs Jimmy Bannos, Jr., Jimmy Bannos, Sr., Michelle Bernstein, Roy Choi, and Jacques Torres showcased their culinary talents. Esteemed “Honorary Bacchus” winemakers from the last ten years returned to pour rare selections, including Au Bon Climat, Caymus, Gemstone Vineyard, Kosta Browne, Pride Mountain Vineyards, Schrader Cellars, and Williams Selyem.
“It’s important to Emeril, Alden, and members of the Foundation board to positively impact the lives of as many children as possible,” says new Foundation President Brian Kish. “We’ll continue to support our community in New Orleans, but we’re excited to expand our efforts nationally as well.”
Established in 2002 as the realization of Emeril Lagasse and his wife Alden Lagasse’s dream to improve the quality of young people's lives, Emeril Lagasse Foundation supports children’s education and non-profit organizations with culinary, nutrition, garden, arts and life skills programs. Other projects funded by the Foundation include an outdoor classroom, gardens, fresh foods cafeteria and teaching kitchen at Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, an accessible learning kitchen for special needs students at St. Michael Special School, the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Hospitality Center at Café Reconcile, and hospitality training at Liberty’s Kitchen for at-risk youth preparing healthy school meals. In 2013, Emeril Lagasse was honored as James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year.