More than 60 of the best local and national chefs descend upon Champions Square this Friday for Emeril Lagasse’s Boudin, Bourbon and Beer festival. If you’re wondering what to expect or how Emeril gets so many award-winning chefs to participate, we went straight to the source. We asked a few of the chefs what they like so much about this festival, and we also get an insider’s sneak peek into what happens behind the scenes.
What makes Boudin, Bourbon and Beer (BBB) such a great event?
Chef Nina Compton of Compere Lapin: Just being invited to an event where I am surrounded by great chefs and get to see Emeril dancing and playing music on stage makes it amazing!
Chef Will Avelar of Meril: For me, it’s a privilege to work alongside all the invited chefs, but it’s also like a high school reunion in some ways. A lot of the chefs that participate in BBB I have worked with before. So it’s great to see old faces and to get to catch up with old friends.
Chefs Sam Carroll and Cody Carroll of Sac-A-Lait: The name of the event says it all! All the delicious food, the booze, the great music, and it’s all for an amazing cause. All these elements really make the event memorable.
What’s your favorite part of participating in Boudin, Bourbon and Beer?
Chef Isaac Toups of Toups Meatery and Toups South: Obviously, the best time is the after party. Shenanigans galore. Bourbon-o-plenty.
Chef Stephen Stryjewski, BBB Co-Chair: I love getting the opportunity to spend time with so many of my friends in the industry. We are all so busy and seldom get time to hang out. It is great that this event pulls us all together
Chefs Sam Carroll and Cody Carroll of Sac-A-Lait: Everything! We especially enjoy getting together with other local talent and top-tier chefs for a great cause. It’s one of the best charitable events that we participate in.
Who are you excited to see this year?
Chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s: One of the side benefits of Boudin, Bourbon, and Beer is getting to hang out with so many of our friends and peers, like Nina Compton & Larry Miller (Compere Lapin), Simone Reggie & Ashley Roussel (Simone’s Market), and my fun-loving friend from Chicago, Jimmy Bannos (Heaven on Seven). I also look forward every year to the performance of the New Orleans’ own 610 Stompers . They really liven up the party!
Chef Will Avelar of Meril: I’m excited about seeing the milkshakes from Jaques Torres this year. We are starting to experiment with milkshakes at Meril and to see how Jaques makes his will be great for our research.
Is there any sort of competition among the chefs?
Chef Isaac Toups of Toups Meatery and Toups South: As far as competition, not really. However, if you run out of food too early or are noticeably in the “weeds” you’ll get some flack and then some help.
Chefs Sam Carroll and Cody Carroll of Sac-A-Lait: Maybe who can drink the most, or at the after party, who can stay on the mechanical bull the longest!
Chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s: BBB is not about competition at all. It is all about Community. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation does so many wonderful things for youth and culinary education and it is gratifying to know that our work has so many tangible results throughout the year. I am fortunate to teach in the Chef Emeril Lagasse Culinary Studio at NOCCA, so I see the results every day.
What makes New Orleans such a great spot for this event?
Chef Isaac Toups of Toups Meatery and Toups South: It’s Chef Emeril’s town. It’s his event, and when you want a charity benefit with a party – NOLA has you covered.
Chef Stephen Stryjewski, BBB Co-Chair: New Orleans is always the best place to have any party.
Chefs Sam Carroll and Cody Carroll of Sac-A-Lait: New Orleans is already amazing, but this event really highlights all the great things about Louisiana. The cuisine, the music and hospitality are all front and center!
How do you prepare for such a large event?
Chef Michael Gulotta of Maypop: You really need to build a dish that can be put out quickly while still being delicious. It is a pretty intense party, guest want to stop and have drinks with the cooks and chat, which we love, but we need to be able to work efficiently while drinking large amounts of Bourbon.
Chefs Sam Carroll and Cody Carroll of Sac-A-Lait: There’s definitely a lot of prepping involved. We make sure that we have enough pork and a big enough pot!
Chef Nina Compton of Compere Lapin: The goal is not complicating the dish; just good simple flavors and easy to execute.
What are you serving up this year?
Chef Isaac Toups of Toups Meatery and Toups South: Boudin Burritos. Toups South style.
Chef Michael Gulotta of Maypop: Maypop is preparing a roasted apple ravioli topped with crispy smoked boudin, browned butter, and parmesan.
Chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s: This year, Brigtsen’s will again be offering a vegetarian option, which I think is so important. Chef Emily Pfeifer from Brigtsen’s has created a unique dish, Gumbo z’Herbes Aroncini, which utilizes seasonal fall greens and locally grown aromatic rice. It will be served with a Creole mustard sauce and pickled sweet peppers. Big flavor, no meat.
What’s the best version of boudin you have ever seen?
Chef Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s: I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but my favorite boudin might be my Sweet Potato Boudin, which we’ve served in years past at BBB. It’s a classic Acadian boudin with diced, candied sweet potatoes blended in.
Chefs Sam Carroll and Cody Carroll of Sac-A-Lait: A fresh link of boudin wrapped in tin foil in a rice cooker. It’s the best, and there is no topping the original!
Chef Nina Compton of Compere Lapin: Still working on it.
Tickets for Boudin, Bourbon and Beer are still available and can be purchased on Ticketmaster.