Southeastern's Chefs Evening a huge success

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
by: Rene Abadie

1)Tasters Choice Awards 2)Wine tasting3)Wine sponsors

1)Taster’s Choice AwardsWinners of Southeastern Louisiana University’s Taster’s Choice Awards were recognized at the university’s annual fund-raising event Chefs Evening. Pictured are, from left, Chase Davis and Ryan Hickman of Keith Young’s Steakhouse, Main Dish Award; Anthony Delpidio of Cocoa Bean Bakery & Café, Dessert Award; and Erik Acquistapace, Doug Gulley and Cody Redditt of Acquistapace’s Covington Market, Best Presentation.

2)Tasting the wineThe President’s Wine Tasting, a new event preceding Chefs Evening was sponsored by the Whitney Bank and held at the Victory Club in Strawberry Stadium where guests tasted and selected the wines to be served at the event. Among the participants were, from left, Cynthia Nesser, chair of the Southeastern Foundation; Vice President for University Advancement Wendy Lauderdale; Gino Marino of Gino’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge; President John L. Crain; wine specialist Bret Smith of Republic Beverage Distributing Company;  and Whitney Bank representatives Cindy Shelton, Daryl Ferrara and Joey Marino.

3) Wine tasting sponsorsThe wines featured at the President’s Toast and the President’s Wine Table at Chefs Evening featured wines from around the globe. Pictured are, from left, R.K. Hoddinott III of Merrill Lynch, President John L. Crain, and Andre Theriot of Wells Fargo. Hoddinott and Theriot sponsored the wines featured at the event.

     HAMMOND – More than 400 participants attended Southeastern Louisiana University’s signature fund-raising event for academic departments and scholarships, Chefs Evening, held at the university’s Student Union Sunday, March 13.
     Both new and perennial favorite restaurants brought forth some of their best creations for tastings by attendees, said Lauren Williams, coordinator of the event. In addition the event showcased an impressive emphasis on wine and food pairings, featuring wines from around the globe.
     A new event preceding Chefs Evening, the President’s Wine Tasting, was sponsored by Whitney Bank and hosted by Southeastern President John Crain where a group of sponsorship guests tasted and chose the wines to be featured at the event.
     “Sponsoring the President’s Wine Tasting was a great way for Whitney to help support the university and Chefs Evening,” said bank representative Cindy Shelton.
     Andre Theriot of Wells Fargo and R.K. Hoddinott III of Merrill Lynch sponsored the wines featured at the President’s Toast event and the President’s Wine Table at Chefs Evening. Coordinating the wines were Southeastern alumnus and restauranteur Gino Marino of Baton Rouge and wine specialist Bret Smith of Republic National Distributing Company.
     The auction featured an innovative online mobile bidding platform allowing those unable to attend the event an opportunity to participate by bidding from home. Offered along with the live auction were the silent auction of a large array of items, the Corks and Kegs basket raffle, and the Ultimate Wine Raffle with the winner taking home an assortment of 30 select wines.
     Patrons at the event selected winners of the annual Taster’s Choice Awards, vendors recognized for special excellence. These included Keith Young’s Steakhouse, Main Dish Award for their version of shrimp remoulade; Cocoa Bean Bakery & Café, Dessert Award for a chocolate cake confection; and Aquistapace’s Supermarket for Best Presentation for a display of cheese, fruit and wine.
     “We couldn’t be successful without the generous contributions of the restaurants and vendors from around the region who participate in Chefs Evening,” said Vice President for University Advancement Wendy Lauderdale.
     Participants included Aquistapace's Covington Supermarket, Benedicts Catering, Cate Street Seafood Station, Champagne Beverage, Coca Cola Distributing, Cocoa Bean Bakery & Cafe, Crescent Bar, Don's Seafood, Eddie's Frozen Custard, Gnarley Barley, IronHorse Sports Bar and Grille, Jacmel Inn, Jim Carey Distributing, Keith Young's Steakhouse, PJ's Coffee-University Ave and W. Thomas, Raising Cane's, Rotolo's Pizzeria, Southeastern Catering, The Boston Restaurant, The Steakhouse, Tope la Restaurant, and Trey Yuen.
     Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations Lynn Horgan cited the assistance of corporate sponsors in making the event possible, including Regions Bank, Whitney Bank, First Guaranty Bank, La Capitol Federal Credit Union, American Bank and Trust, Entergy and North Oaks Health Systems.

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