A Culinary Extravaganza Supporting LRA Programs, including ProStart
The Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) Greater Baton Rouge Chapter is thrilled to announce the return of the highly anticipated 2nd Annual Oktoberfest, proudly sponsored by Mockler Beverage Company and Anheuser-Busch. This exciting event is dedicated to supporting LRA Programs, including ProStart, a two-year restaurant management and culinary arts curriculum in 19 Baton Rouge area high schools, while delivering an unforgettable evening of culinary delights, live entertainment, and camaraderie.
Delicious German-Inspired Cuisine Prepare your taste buds for an unforgettable culinary journey as Baton Rouge’s finest restaurants, including Cecelia Creole Bistro, SoLou, City Slice, The Overpass Merchant, Off the Hook, L’Auberge Casino & Resort, Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux, Country Pleasin' Sausage, The Gregory at the Watermark Hotel, Fresh Chef Kitchen, Go Eat Concepts, P-Beau’s and Modesto, come together to serve authentic German-inspired dishes exclusively at Oktoberfest at Pointe-Marie.
In addition, four area ProStart programs will be on serving German-style dishes they have developed in their culinary labs.
Live Entertainment and Contests As the evening unfolds, attendees can look forward to dancing the night away to the tunes of the local sensation, PANTS PARTY. Additionally, a costume contest will allow attendees to showcase their creativity and embrace the Oktoberfest spirit. For those with the strength and determination, there will be a stein holding contest to test their mettle.
A Night for a Good Cause Oktoberfest Committee Chair Brad Watts (Cecelia Creole Bistro) emphasized, “The 2nd Annual Oktoberfest is a recipe for success, blending the joy of community, the zest of culinary innovation, and the sizzle of lively entertainment. It’s where Baton Rouge comes together to raise a toast to our industry’s future, all while having a stein-holding good time!”
Original Culinary Creations Baton Rouge’s top restaurants will bring German-inspired original dishes to the event. Stand-out dishes include:
*Photos and b-roll video available upon request.
The Louisiana Restaurant Association is a business trade association representing more than 7,000 eating and drinking places across the state. As the largest employer, the restaurant industry provides careers and jobs to more than 200,000 residents. Restaurants are philanthropic in nature and support many community causes. Events such as Oktoberfest benefit LRA programs, including ProStart—a two-year culinary arts and restaurant management curriculum found in 19 high schools in the Greater Baton Rouge area.
Early voting is September 30 - October 7 (excluding Sunday, October 1) from 8:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Click here to vote early at a designated location in your parish.
Visit the Secretary of State's website to get election information here.
There are four constitutional amendments on the ballot. The Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) provides a guide to help you determine your position. Click here.
The Gubernatorial Primary Election is Saturday, October 14, 2023.
Governor John Bel Edwards held a press conference on Friday, Sept. 22 and was accompanied by Colonel Jones from the U.S. Army Corps and Dr. Joseph Kantor of the Louisiana Dept. of Health, who provided the following information.
Here are the take aways from the press conference.
Saltwater Intrusion and Its Impact:
You may have seen news stories about the saltwater intrusion in the Mississippi River and the impact it may have on the water supply of communities upstream. The LRA Team, along with the Louisiana Dept. of Health (LDH) Engineering Team, is working to prepare members for the impact this could have on our residents and restaurants, should the situation worsen. The LDH in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) are collaborating on communication and the construction of a higher underwater dam to stem the flow of salt water upriver.
Here are a few things to consider:
Once the saltwater reaches the intake, it could be a few weeks before it could disrupt the water supply given the concentration of the water system’s chloride functions. This would not create a boil water advisory, as the issue with saltwater is not bacterial, but corrosion of plumbing systems, which may leach metals in the water supply.
Weekly topics break down some of the most important food safety processes to help all employees understand the whys and hows of safe food handling
Every day in neighborhood restaurants, staffers are employing essential food safety skills to cook and cool foods to proper temperatures, clean and sanitize their workspaces and wash their hands, while managers run checklists to prepare for a health inspection. These are all food safety skills learned and honed over time with good training and practice.
“Sometimes, we can forget the ‘why’ behind the actions we take every day to ensure a safe dining experience. So, this year, we’re helping the workforce at every level brush up on how to execute world- class food safety and why each of these best practices is important,” said Sherman Brown, executive vice president of Business Services for the National Restaurant Association. “For more than 30 years, ServSafe has been the leader in preparing foodservice workers to deliver safe dining experiences for their guests, while also keeping themselves safe. NFSM is a good time to remind food handlers not just of the best practices but the science behind why we do them.”
This year for National Food Safety Month (NFSM), ServSafe® is cracking the code on the time-tested, science-based skills that help prevent foodborne illnesses. Between August 21 and October 2, the experts at ServSafe will curate free training and education content including e-books, checklists, posters, and infographics that are digestible, sharable, and easy to put into practice. This year’s essential topics include:
NFSM, recognized each September, was created in 1994 by the National Restaurant Association to heighten awareness about the importance of food safety education. The 2023 NFSM is sponsored by Tork, an Essity Brand, and Ecolab.
To join the NFSM conversation using the hashtag #NFSM2023. Follow ServSafe on Facebook and Twitter for the latest resources. For more information, visit FoodSafetyFocus.com.
Industry-specific tool from National Restaurant Association essential for preparedness planning and recovery
Restaurant kitchens include open flames, hot surfaces, hot oil, cleaning chemicals, and a heavy electrical demand—all concentrated in one busy space. In the moment a fire breaks out, it’s hard to focus and plan. Always Ready: Fire(Opens in a new window) is the latest in a series of restaurant-specific guides designed to help restaurant owners and operators evaluate their risks and create a fire response plan so in the moment, they can focus on keeping people safe.
Restaurant fires account for about 6% of all nonresidential building fires reported to fire departments each year, causing more than $100 million in property damage, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Having a fire preparedness plan in place can mitigate losses, prevent injuries, and help a restaurant reopen faster.
“As business leaders, restaurant operators have many responsibilities for which they need to plan,” said Michelle Korsmo, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association. “How best to protect their team members, their customers, and their restaurant from fires is important planning for every restaurant operator so they can more effectively respond to this type of disaster. The National Restaurant Association is proud to provide the industry with the resources and materials it needs to protect businesses and to know where and how to start recovery efforts if disaster strikes.”
The National Restaurant Association Always Ready: Fire pulls best practices from official sources and restaurant operators—including human resources and risk managers from independent restaurants and national brands—to share recommendations for what to do in advance of, during and after a fire occurs.
The guide includes:
“This guide helps operators build a plan that engages their staff on how to prevent fires and how to keep customers and each other safe. We’ve brought together the knowledge and experience of fire safety authorities and industry experts who have successfully guided restaurants through fire losses with the aim of creating a resource that gets a damaged restaurant back open and serving the community as quickly as possible,” said Korsmo.
The Always Ready: Fire and Always Ready: Natural Disasters guides are available for free to all restaurant operators here.
City Group Hospitality advances its digital ordering process with insights from LSU, Cornell in Harvard Business Review study
Baton Rouge is known for its concept restaurants, like the six that sit under the umbrella of City Group Hospitality (CGH). The restaurant group’s online ordering efforts are now being studied by students at Cornell, and Louisiana State University. For Stephen Hightower, Managing Partner of CGH, the past year blossomed a new partnership with Professor Gabe Piccoli at the E. J. Ourso College of Business at LSU. Piccoli is the lead author on his newest published study for the Harvard Business Review titled Fostering Digital Relationships with Guests at City Group Hospitality.
Piccoli met Hightower last year on the local Baton Rouge podcast “Out to Lunch.” The topic of their episode was The Art and Science of Hospitality. After that conversation, the seed was planted for them both to understand what could be next for the industry in relations to technology, digitalization and food delivery.
Third-party food delivery apps used to be considered a competitive advantage for restaurants, but now they’re more a lifeline for continual sales. Paying for the service comes with high commission fees, which can severely erode a restaurants profit margin. Yet, the positive elements—reaching a new customer base, increased check sizes and receiving more orders during downtimes—seem to outweigh the negative in a post-pandemic world, for some operators.
Using the third-party apps does require work to execute the orders successfully. Many restaurateurs worry about the food handling, and time between restaurant pickup and home delivery. No matter the effort on the establishment’s part, the minute the order is carried out the door, the restaurant has lost control of its product, leaving the customer experience unknown. Hightower grapples with the feeling of dependence all too well.
“Food delivery companies promise incremental sales, but they aggregate demand and concentrate power in their own hands,” Hightower said.
The published case study focuses on the digital transformation of restaurants, and how business owners are learning to work with, or without, food delivery apps.
“University-industry partnerships are win-win situations for everyone involved,” Piccoli said. “These partnerships can not only result in experiential learning opportunities in the classroom, but businesses can gain access to expert knowledge from professors and fresh perspectives from students.”
Each class came to a similar conclusion of a hybrid approach by staying on the third-party apps, and then transition to a native app (app owned by CGH). Staying with the likes of UberEats and DoorDash for some restaurants under CGH’s umbrella will draw new customers for conversions. Currently, Hightower and CGH’s marketing team are working with PopMenu to handle their online ordering, and they’ve seen positive feedback.
“PopMenu has been a great integration for us,” said Hightower. “We have intertwined our operational digital transformation with a pointed marketing effort to capture incremental added sales across all of our restaurants. This focused approach to online traction, and using the latest in restaurant technology, has been a rewarding and successful process for City Group Hospitality.”
For now, Hightower and his teams plan to analyze the study’s findings, and evaluate each concept before deciding on their future. Overall the partnership has opened doors for his businesses.
“It was a monumental shift for me to engage with Piccoli,” said Hightower. “To be a real business leader, you must seek out other perspectives. This partnership has rejuvenated me to take City Group Hospitality to another level.”
By Nicole Koster
Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month honored by Mister Mao
The month of May celebrates Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a commemoration of the influences Asian Americans and Pacific Islander Americans have had on the culture and achievements in the United States.
In honor of the month-long occasion, Sophina Uong, the Cambodian-American Chef/Owner of Mister Mao in Uptown New Orleans, will be rolling out a very special cocktail fundraiser and sharing one of her favorite Cambodian recipes.
From Thursday, May 11th - Monday, May 29th guests can head over to Mister Mao or its quirky cocktail bar, Naked Bills, to imbibe on the ESL – a boozy incarnation of Southeast Asia’s sweet mango sticky rice. Created by Bar Manager Mad Chao, the ESL features rum, falernum, pandan, coconut, mango and sesame served over crushed ice. For every cocktail sold, 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the The New Neighbor Project, a non-profit organization in New Orleans dedicated to providing support and assistance to immigrants.
Chef Uong is also sharing one of her favorite recipes, Pot Ang. Just in time for summer, the Cambodian grilled corn dish features coconut milk, serrano chiles and fish sauce; and is easy-to-prep and throw on the grill.
Chef Jimi Setchim Showcases the Sweet, Tropical Fruit on Prix Fixe Menu
New Orleans, Louisiana— Broussard’s Restaurant & Courtyard is celebrating spring with a special prix fixe dinner menu featuring bananas, or plantains, in every dish. Chef Jimi Setchim has crafted specials for brunch and dinner. These dishes are also available on the a la carte menu.
“Most of us have eaten bananas before, whether as a morning snack, sliced into cereal, or mixed with vanilla wafers and pudding,” said Chef Jimi. “Here at Broussard’s, we endeavor to create a unique dining experience, and that is precisely what our spring menu does; we’ve highlighted familiar and exceptional flavors that pair well with bananas. It’s a sweet way to enrich our New Orleans cuisine.”
Chef Jimi’s prix fixe dinner menu includes a choice of starters: Spring banana salad with arugula, frisée, blueberries, pomegranate, shaved red onions, banana chips, and banana-feta vinaigrette; Cajun caviar on a roasted banana blini; and roasted banana and caramelized onion fritter with pickled pepper jelly, lemon cream, and crispy plantains.
The featured entrées are pan-seared duck breast with plantain cracklins’; Creole jerk chicken made from banana and cane spiced airline breast, accompanied by roasted banana grits, charred tomato coulis, and pickled okra; and grilled bone-in pork chop with banana-cane BBQ sauce, ginger sweet potato puree, mirliton and plantain slaw, and a pepper jelly vinaigrette. For dessert, Chef Jimi presents strawberry banana parfait prepared with Ponchatoula strawberries, banana sponge cake, white chocolate ganache and banana crumble; and brûléed banana éclair made with white chocolate montee, banana and pistachio powder, dark chocolate, and raspberry puree. The price of the banana prix fixe dinner menu is $55 per person.
The prix fixe brunch menu starts with Creole turtle soup or the Spring banana salad; entrées include King Creole pain perdu with candied bacon, banana mousse, peanut butter caramel, and brûléed bananas, and Gulf shrimp and tasso quiche. For dessert, Chef Jimi offers English toffee bread pudding and the strawberry banana parfait. The price of the prix fixe brunch menu is $48 per person.
A vegan option is also available: banana BBQ fried tofu crafted with plantain and mirliton slaw, ginger sweet potato puree, and pickled peppers.
To make reservations at Broussard’s, please visit broussards.com or call 504-581-3866.
Osteria Lupo – Uptown New Orleans’ highly-anticipated Northern Italian restaurant – will officially open to the public on Wednesday, April 5, 2023 at 4609 Magazine Street. The brainchild of Chef Brian Burns and Reno De Ranieri, who own the popular Spanish-inspired restaurant Costera, Osteria Lupo will offer locals and visitors refined Northern Italian cuisine featuring house made pastas, wood-fired specialties, and a stellar wine & cocktail program, served up in a chic and sophisticated setting.
Costera’s immediate success and popularity upon opening in 2019 had New Orleanians wondering what the next move would be for Burns and De Ranieri, who met during their tenure at the Link Restaurant Group. When the talented duo found two adjacent spaces on Magazine Street, they knew it was too good to resist and decided it was time to premier a new concept.
“Brian and I have had the vision for a Northern Italian concept for quite some time,” said De Ranieri who grew up in San Francisco and was exposed to rustic Italian cuisine and wine at a young age. “When the opportunity arose to open Uptown, not far from Costera, we knew it was meant to be.”
Osteria Lupo’s menu is conceptualized by Burns, a graduate of Tulane’s A.B. Freeman School and École Grégoire-Ferrandi, one of France’s leading professional training schools. Burns’ impressive vitae includes stints at Michelin starred Joël Robuchon and Château Cordeillan-Bages in France. In 2009, Burns returned to New Orleans, where he joined the Link Restaurant Group and served as Executive Sous Chef of Herbsaint before being tapped to help open Pêche Seafood Grill, ultimately working as Chef de Cuisine before leaving to pursue his own restaurant. This experience allowed Burns to develop a culinary style that resonates with guests in the New Orleans dining scene, while also providing an opportunity to develop the leadership skills necessary to effectively manage a professional kitchen and maintaining a level of quality that has been recognized twice by the James Beard Foundation.
Dishes, many of which will come from the restaurant’s central wood-fire oven, will showcase the bounty of the mountains and lakes of Piedmont, Liguria and other regions in Northern Italy. “There is such a rich culinary landscape in the north, with its own unique flavors and ingredients,” says Burns. “I’ve always loved these regions and am excited to shine a spotlight on them here in New Orleans.”
Antipasti, perfect for sharing, include Black Truffle Arancini with fresh Umbrian truffles over a creamy Val d’Aosta fonduta, Red Snapper Crudo – utilizing the best the Gulf has to offer, and served with tomato pesto and fried capers, and Seared Porchetta with local arugula and lemon on grilled focaccia. Pizze come straight from the wood-fire oven and include Clam with broccoli rabe, chili flakes and lemon, Mushroom with Taleggio, garlic confit and crispy leeks, and a traditional Margherita with tomato, Fior de Latte mozzarella and fresh torn basil.
Pasta at Osteria Lupo is made in-house and features specialties like Radiatori with Louisiana Blue Crab, Parmesan and basil, Spaghetti alla Chittara with Maine Lobster and Trebbiano; and Campanelle with Mushrooms – a ruffled, bell-shaped pasta with a rich porcini, shiitake, and oyster mushroom ragu. Secondi are large enough to share, and range from simply-prepared Rack of Lamb with pistachio verde, and Double-Cut Pork Chop Milanese with littleneck clams, prosciutto, rapini, and garlic, to Seared Yellowfin Tuna with coal-roasted spring vegetables and bagna cauda. A selection of desserts from Pastry Chef Sara Martin will also be on offer.
The beverage program at Osteria Lupo will be under the direction of De Ranieri, who cut his teeth running beverage programs across multiple restaurants as Corporate Beverage Director for the Link Restaurant Group. Paying homage to the classic cocktail bars of Milan and Florence, libations will focus on lighter Italian aperitivi aimed to whet the appetite, along with nods to New Orleans’ rich cocktail history. The wine program, 100 percent Italian, will have a strong focus on Piedmont and Tuscany, while highlighting small producers and dynamic wines. According to De Ranieri, “We will select our wines the same way (Chef) Brian selects his ingredients – by working directly with the small, local producers that have grown their own grapes and made their own wines for generations.”
Designed with New Orleans architect Brooks Graham, Osteria Lupo merges a former glass blowing studio and the original depot for Elmer’s Chocolate into one beautiful modern setting where sleek industrial elements are complemented by natural woods and warm hues of blue. In the dining room, an open exhibition kitchen and colorful mosaic tiled wood-fire oven serves as the focal point from nearly every seat, allowing guests to watch the action unfold. Polished concrete floors and exposed ceilings are offset by soft ambient lighting from antique brass globe pendants and paneled walls, all working harmoniously to create a stylishly vibey, relaxed ambiance. An adjacent area features additional seating, as well as a dramatic bar with deep blues contrasted by Carrera-Arabescata marble. The original 12X12 garage door has been redesigned with amber zellige tile and a glass and aluminum overhead door, allowing for open air seating on nice nights.
Osteria Lupo will open to the public on Wednesday, April 5th at 4609 Magazine Street and will serve dinner Wednesday – Sunday from 4pm to 9pm. For additional information please visit www.osterialupo.com. To reserve a table, please book on Resy.
Stay up to date on Instagram and Facebook: @osterialupo