Vowels and Victuals
Wheel of Fortune will showcase New Orleans cooking during shows taped at the Convention Center just days before Hurricane Katrina hit. Each night during the week, the show will feature the cooking of a New Orleans chef, including Ted Brennan and Lazone Randolph of Brennan's Restaurant, Mike Regua of Antoine's, Susan Spicer from Bayona, Erik Veney of Muriel's Jackson Square and Cajun cooking legend Paul Prudhomme. King World, the show's producer, will encourage its viewers to send cash donations to the Red Cross for continued Katrina relief and has pledged to match the first $100,000 in contributions made to the agency through its Web site, WheelofFortune.com. The show's producers say they have more than 19 million viewers a night. Wheel of Fortune airs in New Orleans on FOX WVUE.
Everybody who went through Katrina has their own story about the experience. When those stories involve food, the Gulf Coast Foodways Renaissance Project wants to hear them. The project is a collaboration between The Southern Food and Beverage Museum, which was formed earlier this year in New Orleans, and the University of Mississippi's Southern Foodways Alliance. The groups are looking for stories that involve the region's food culture and also are recruiting volunteers to conduct interviews and record these oral histories. The stories could involve a restaurateur or waiter trying to make a living after Katrina, an average Joe trying to find a cup of chicory coffee far from home or a host cooking for a full house of evacuees. The stories will be presented in a traveling exhibit and online, and the groups also hope to create a book and CD from the material. To volunteer as an interviewer or to share a story, contact the project by visiting www.southernfood.org or calling (888) 926-1999.
Help for the Homeward Bound
Most restaurants that have reopened in the area have no trouble attracting customers, but finding staff is a different story. To help, the Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) has established a charitable fund to collect contributions for restaurant workers who were displaced by hurricanes Katrina or Rita. The LRA will use money donated to this Restaurant Employee Relief Fund to help pay for travel expenses for workers as they make their way home. To donate, make checks payable to "Restaurant Employee Relief Fund" and mail them to: LRAEF, 2700 N. Arnoult Road, Metairie LA 70002-5916. For more information about this fund, e-mail the LRA at tomw@LRA.org.
Galatoire's Restaurant remains closed and plans are moving ahead to open an offshoot, Galatoire's Bistro, in Baton Rouge. But New Orleanians hungering for its distinctive dishes can try whipping up a few themselves with the restaurant's new cookbook. Released late in October, Galatoire's Cookbook: Recipes and Family History From the Time-Honored New Orleans Restaurant, covers local classics like shrimp remoulade and goes into Galatoire's obscurities like the Godchaux salad. The book was co-authored by restaurant general manager Melvin Rodrigue and local writer Jyl Benson. Galatoire's expects to reopen its 100-year-old Bourbon Street restaurant in January.