at the Five Star Futures Awards Gala benefiting the LRA Education Foundation
The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) and its chair, Katy Casbarian,co-proprietor of Arnaud’s Restaurant and Remoulade in New Orleans, are pleased to announce this year’s Restaurateurs of the Year, Hall of Fame Inductees, Associate Member of the Year and Advocate of the Year. The honorees will be recognized at the Five Star Futures Awards Gala, Saturday, August 6, 2016, beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom, Hilton New Orleans Riverside. This annual event benefits the LRA Education Foundation (LRAEF).
The 2016 Restaurateurs of the Year are Ti Martin and Lally Brennan, co-proprietors of Commander’s Palace, SoBou, Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar in New Orleans and Brennan’s of Houston. Cousins Lally Brennan and Ti Martin are co-proprietors of the famed Commander’s Palace, Café Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar, SoBou and Brennan’s of Houston. Since the late 1990s, these cousins have shared the duties of evolving the Commander’s Palace establishment into a highly-regarded destination for locals and visitors alike. The heiresses to New Orleans’ most legendary restaurant dynasty have appeared on national television and radio programs, and have been the subject of countless articles on the finer points of hospitality and entertaining. Their philanthropic, industry and civic activities have earned them numerous accolades throughout their careers.
“It means so much to us to be recognized by our friends at the LRA,” said Lally Brennan. “We truly respect all of the work they do for us and our peers every day. It’s an honor to be in such in good company as Restaurateurs of the Year in our state. We know this category is full of the best of the very best in restaurants and hospitality.”
“Lally and I are thrilled to accept this together. We are really just one person,” quips Ti. “Seriously though, receiving this from our peers and friends in the industry is the greatest honor to us. One of the great joys of our lives is the camaraderie of our industry.”
Martin and Brennan join many of their family members in being honored with the LRA’s most prestigious awards: their uncles, Past LRA Chairs Richard Brennan, Sr. and Owen Brennan, Jr. were inducted into the LRA Hall of Fame in 1978; Martin’s mother and Brennan’s aunt, Ella Brennan Martin, was inducted into the LRA Hall of Fame in 1987; their cousin, Past LRA Chair Ralph Brennan was named Restaurateur of the Year in 1999 and was inducted into the LRA Hall of Fame in 2005; and another cousin, Past LRA Chair Dickie Brennan, was inducted into the LRA Hall of Fame in 2011.
The 2016 Hall of Fame Inductees are Chef Paul Prudhomme of K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen and Magic Seasoning Blends and Jerry Amato of Mother’s Restaurant in New Orleans; both of which will be inducted posthumously. The LRA Hall of Fame recognizes an LRA member or members who have committed their career to serving our industry and the LRA. This year, the LRA is posthumously honoring both Chef Prudhomme and Mr. Amato for their lifelong contributions to the state’s restaurant industry. Renowned Cajun chef Paul Prudhomme, after working for the Brennan family as chef at Commander’s Palace, became internationally known for his cuisine at his landmark restaurant, K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen, starting in the 1980s. He was a beloved culinary figure in Louisiana and across the world. His Magic Seasoning Blends became a staple in grocery stores and kitchens in Louisiana and beyond. A dedicated LRA member, he was previously honored with the LRA’s Restaurateur of the Year award in 1983. Prudhomme died at the age of 75 on October 8, 2015.
Jerry Amato was the chef and owner of the iconic New Orleans institution, Mother’s Restaurant. Famous as a tourist destination and local’s favorite, it was a familiar sight to see a line of hungry diners that stretched down the restaurant’s block on Poydras Street on any day of the week. Amato was also honored as the LRA Restaurateur of the Year in 2003. He died at the age of 65 on March 12, 2016.
The 2016 Associate Member of the Year is Tammy Smitherman-Breaux, Louisiana Division Manager of Heartland Payment Systems. The Associate Member of the Year award recognizes a restaurant industry supplier who exemplifies dedication to the LRA’s mission. Smitherman-Breaux has been employed with Heartland for the past 12 ½ years and manages a staff of 21. Through her LRA involvement, Heartland has exhibited in the LRA’s Louisiana Foodservice & Hospitality EXPO for the past 13 years and supported numerous LRA Chapter philanthropic activities and events. She has been a member of the LRA Board of Directors for the past three years. Smitherman-Breaux has been a selfless and faithful volunteer leader for the LRA, while also devoting her time to numerous other boards and committees.
The 2016 Advocate of Year is Representative Kirk Talbot, who represents District 78 based in Jefferson Parish, in the Louisiana House of Representatives and also serves as chair of the House Insurance Committee. The Advocate of the Year recognizes an individual who has supported the advocacy efforts of the LRA and its partner industries. Talbot is an LRA and LRA Self Insurer’s Fund for Workers’ Compensation member through his co-ownership of the iconic hot dog company, Lucky Dogs, LLC. Talbot has worked closely with the LRA Advocacy team to promote good public policy that benefits our industry.
“Kirk is an amazing supporter of the LRA at the state capitol and in helping craft a great vision for our hospitality-driven economy in Louisiana. To have an LRA member serve in a position of leadership in the legislature is a great blessing to our members. The access to Representative Talbot and his support of LRA initiatives has been a great benefit to our industry,” noted LRA President & CEO Stan Harris.
“On behalf of the LRA, I am honored to recognize these award winners and commend them for the work they do not only for their individual businesses, but also for the association and the restaurant and hospitality industries,” said LRA Chair Katy Casbarian.
Also during the Five Star Futures Gala, $70,000 in scholarships will be awarded to 40 students to further their post-secondary education as they pursue careers in the restaurant and hospitality industries. The LRAEF Scholarship Fund was established in 2009 and to date, it has provided $340,000 in scholarships to qualified students. The Scholarship Fund support is generated from the LRA membership through its nine chapters that are located across the state. This year’s recipients will be attending 12 different post-secondary institutions. The LRAEF will also honor its ProStart® Educator of the Year--Traci Martin of Ascension Parish ProStart.
Special thanks to the Five Star Futures Gala sponsors: Acme Oyster House, Ben E. Keith and Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group.
Sponsorships and tickets for the Five Star Futures Gala are available at www.lraef.org/five-star-futures-gala or by calling Kalee Eason at (504) 636-6525.
The LRAEF is grateful to the nine LRA chapters and its LRAEF sponsors: 5 Diamond—Acme Oyster House, Auto-Chlor Services, Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Louisiana Hospitality Foundation, Louisiana Restaurant Association, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers; 4 Diamond—Performance Foodservice-Caro; 3 Diamond—Atmos Energy, Ben E. Keith, Ecolab, Louisiana Culinary Institute and New Orleans Wine & Food Experience; 2 Diamond—Besh Restaurant Group and Whole Foods Market; and 1 Diamond- Capitol City Produce.