As rare as Chef Pat Nolan’s perfectly seared prime rib. Perfectly. Seared.
In preparation for this year’s North Delta Food and Wine Festival, let’s take a look at last year’s main event. Cue the fond memory montage:
For the second annual event, over 400 people attended The Rare Culinary Collaboration. The West Monroe Convention Center was filled with people enjoying premium food, wine, and drinks. Thirty-six chefs prepared food, including representatives from our local area to folks from around the country. The wide variety made the event even more fantastic, with so many food options to choose from. The fact that all of the proceeds went to the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council was the fresh, organic cherry on top.
At the entrance, those attending presented their tickets and were given a wristband and the weapons of choice— a plate with a wine-glass holder conveniently located on the corner, a wine glass to put in that holder, utensils and napkins, and a list of all of the tables inside. Inside the ballroom, the reserved tables were located at the front near the musicians’ stage, and there were several tall tables for other guests to stand around.
On stage, Josh Madden filled the ballroom with live music. At one point, I recognized a slow version of Outkast’s “Hey Ya,” which was fun and appropriate for the setting (What’s cooler than being cool?). His covers were a great addition to the atmosphere.
With almost 40 chefs present, there was something for everyone. From crab stuffing to short rib ramen to buttered chicken, all palettes were covered. And it was a huge bonus to meet the chefs who created each dish. Each one was passionate about their creations, and they were very excited to share them.
Some familiar faces were there. Chef Blake Phillips, with his 2016 Louisiana Seafood King crown on full display. Chef Cory Bahr, known for appearing on Food TV’s Chopped and for opening Monroe’s Restaurant Cotton and Nonna, was the emcee at the event. He also had his own table representing his catering company, Heritage BBQ.
Along with amazing food, there were several drink options available. Our very own Landry Vineyards represented themselves well, with tastings of several of their wine options. There were several other wineries and vineyards from around the country with many options available. Blanchard Family Wines brought their wine from Healdsburg, California, with a wonderful selection! It was great to see so many regions represented.
For the beer-lovers, there were plenty of opportunities to enjoy that too. Choice Brands’ booth had many unique options including a spiked, sparkling water.
Altogether, the event was elegant and fun. The unique atmosphere of live music, premium cuisine, and top local wines made for a great experience. However, if you don’t reserve a table beforehand, be prepared to stand (i.e. wear comfortable shoes).
And you don't want to miss this year's event! If you can't make the Culinary Collaboration on Friday night, there are still several things happening on Saturday. Head over to our Things to Do page for a list of all the events in Monroe-West Monroe.
Buy tickets for the North Delta Food and Wine Festival: A Rare Culinary Collaboration here! For more information, visit their website and like their Facebook page.