Thursday, May 05, 2005

Just desserts...

From T-P:

Say what you will about our professional sports teams, but when it comes to the grand game of gourmandism, New Orleans is definitely at the top of the league -- as demonstrated by two major honors bagged this week at the James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony, the Oscars of the food world.

At the annual gathering of the Beard Foundation in New York, Galatoire's was named outstanding restaurant of the year, while Willie Mae's Scotch House was declared an American classic.

Galatoire's, the Bourbon Street bistro noted for table-hopping and power-lunching as well as its classic Creole cuisine, was honored with the S. Pellegrino Outstanding Restaurant Award, bestowed upon "the restaurant in the U.S. that serves as a national standard bearer of consistency of quality and excellence in food, atmosphere and service." Winners must have been in operation for at least 10 years.

Willie Mae's Scotch House, beloved for its fried chicken and homey atmosphere, was one of four winning restaurants in the category of Southern Wines & Spirits of New York America's Classics, an award to "locally owned and operated restaurants renowned for their timeless appeal and quality food." Co-winners were Yuca's in Los Angeles; El Chorro Lodge in Paradise Valley, Ariz.; and Charlie's Sandwich Shoppe in Boston.

Initially speechless and teary-eyed, Willie Mae Seaton, 88, composed herself to thank a cheering audience: "It's just such a good feeling. I just can't explain it," said Seaton, chef and owner of the St. Ann Street establishment. "I do my best to try to serve the people."

For Galatoire's, chosen from among five nominees, the top honor made for a wonderful birthday present, said David Gooch, one of the restaurants owners. Galatoire's marked its centennial this year.

Nominees in the coveted best-chef category, which is awarded regionally, included New Orleanians John Besh of August and Greg Sonnier of Gabrielle. Past winners have included Emeril Lagasse, Susan Spicer, Frank Brigtsen and the late Jamie Shannon.


jbv's Competitive Edge 


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