by Ian McNulty
Several New Orleans chefs and other food industry folks will be vying for prestigious James Beard Foundation culinary awards at an event scheduled for today in New York City.
Sue Zemanick, chef at Gautreau's, is a nominee for the Rising Star Chef of the Year award.
Emeril's Restaurant is nominated for the foundation's Outstanding Service award.
And John Harris, chef-owner of Lilette, is in the running for the Best Chef: South award.
On the media front, local food writers Judy Walker and Marcelle Bienvenu are nominated for a James Beard Book Award for the cookbook they wrote together, "Cooking Up a Storm: Recipes Lost and Found from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans," while the documentary "We Live to Eat: New Orleans' Love Affair with Food" by local filmmaker Kevin McCaffrey is a nominee for a James Beard Broadcast Media Award.
Meanwhile, the recipient of perhaps the biggest honor of the night is no secret, and certainly no surprise. Restaurateur Ella Brennan will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the organization. Brennan is matriarch of the famous restaurant family that operates Commander's Palace.
Chef Emeril Lagasse, who got his start at Commander's Palace under Ella Brennan's management, will preside as master of ceremonies at the awards event tonight.