If you suddenly start seeing spicy lemongrass grilled shrimp with strawberry-glazed pork ribs and strawberry crab kimchi on New Orleans menus, it's because this recipe cooked up by local ninth grader Sierra Torres is the "Dish That Makes a Difference."
That's the name for an annual student culinary program at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), the arts high school in Bywater. Begun in 2010 in conjunction with the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, the program challenges students in NOCCA's culinary arts program with a recipe competition. In past years, winners saw their recipes prepared and served in Lagasse's restaurants, with proceeds benefiting their school.
This year, however, the Dish That Makes a Difference has been expanded. Now through March 10, Torres' recipe will be featured at more than a dozen local restaurants. Participating chefs have free rein to reinterpret Torres' recipe for their own menus. In addition to Lagasse's three local properties (Emeril's, NOLA and Emeril's Delmonico), participating restaurants range from Maurepas Foods to Mahony's Po-Boy Shop (see the complete list at www.noccainstitute.com).
Proceeds from the sale of the dish at participating restaurants support NOCCA's culinary arts program.