by Ian McNulty
Fans of Chopped have seen a parade of New Orleans chefs lately featured on this Food Network cooking competition. On Friday, March 1, you can also see a collection of them and other local chefs hard at work running a Lenten fish fry to support a program serving the homeless and needy in the city.
“We wanted to use the Food Network thing for something positive for this program,” says Matt Murphy, chef/owner of the Irish House, a past Chopped champion and an organizer of the March 1 event.
More than a dozen chefs will take part in the fish fry, which benefits Lantern Light Ministries. The nuns behind Lantern Light operate the Rebuild Center (1803 Gravier St.) at St. Joseph Church, just outside the CBD, which provides homeless people and others in need with help ranging from meals and showers to legal assistance and financial literacy training. Proceeds from the fish fry support its work.
“The nuns were doing this (fish fry) all themselves in the past, and the most they ever sold was like 300 plates,” says Murphy. “We got some of the Chopped chefs involved last year to promote it and we did 800 plates. This year all the chefs are doing the cooking and we want to do 1,200 plates.”
Along with Murphy, chefs signed up so far for the event include Justin Kennedy of Parkway Bakery & Tavern, Rene Bajeux of Rene Bistrot and “Fireman” Mike Gowland, a long-time Jazz Fest food vendor, along with a team of chefs from local Marriott hotels, Richard Bond of the Mardi Gras School of Cooking and Catering and Andrew Scurlock, another local Chopped competitor. Tariq Hanna of Sucre is handling dessert.
The meal includes catfish, three-cheese baked macaroni, corn salad, bread, bananas Foster bread pudding and a drink for a donation of $10 per plate.
It’s a tradition in some offices and organizations to order fish fry meals together. As an incentive to round up big orders for this event the group that places the largest pre-order by 5 p.m. on Feb. 28 will win a fireside party at the Irish House with hors d’oeuvres and a chance to meet the nuns who run the Rebuild Center and chefs from the fish fry.
Pre-order pick-up is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., while walk-in orders are available from noon to 4 p.m. at 1803 Gravier St. For pre-orders, call (504) 273— 5573, ext. 116.