Emeril Lagasse Aims to Raise $2 Million in 2 Days

When guests walk the red carpet at Emeril Lagasse's Carnivale du Vin Saturday night, they'll be helping to raise roughly two million dollars for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation.  The black tie Carnivale is one of two events this weekend along with its casual counterpart, Boudin and Beer.  Lagasse's culinary director, Chef Chris Wilson explains, "It's kinda like a street festival, highlighting boudin, one of the number one foods here in New Orleans and the region."

Throughout the week Wilson has been busy prepping with a host of volunteer chefs from around the area and around the country.  55 chefs will participate in Friday night's Boudin and Beer, feeding more than 2,000 people.  The big guns arrive on Saturday with celebrity chefs like Tyler Florence and Mario Batali preparing a 5 course wine-paired dinner.

Wine is the main focus of the event.  In fact, Wine Spectator magazine has called Carnivale one of the top ten charity wine auctions in the country.  Kristin Shannon, executive director of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation says the auction offers, "Rare opportunities to have chef Emeril prepare dinner for you and nine of your guests with a featured vintner, traveling to Napa, traveling to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate Emeril's birthday with Sammy Hagar."

Shannon says the generosity to those participating makes a big impact on our area.  Janee Taylor understands that impact first hand.  Taylor is a graduate of NOCCA's culinary arts program who, thanks to Lagasse's foundation, now attends Johnston and Wales University.  Shannon says, "We've been able to raise significant money through this event and give over $6 million to the local community and along the Gulf Coast."  Helping youth like Janee and others at Cafe Reconcile, St. Michael Special School and the many worthy charities this weekend's events will support.

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