New Orleans can expect to be well represented at this year's James Beard Foundation Awards, to be held May 8 in New York. Two of the five nominees for the foundation's Best Chef in the Southeast award are New Orleanians: John Besh of Restaurant August (301 Tchoupitoulas St., 299-9777; www.rest-august.com) and Donald Link of Herbsaint (701 St. Charles Ave., 524-4114; www.herbsaint.com). Also, Times-Picayune food critic Brett Anderson is in the running for the foundation's journalism award. A reception immediately following the award ceremony is billed as a tribute to the culinary legacy of New Orleans, with Chef Susan Spicer of Bayona (430 Dauphine St., 525-4455; www.bayona.com) overseeing a menu of dishes from 20 New Orleans restaurants. New Orleans native and NPR/ABC news analyst Cokie Roberts will be master of ceremonies at the event, and a portion of proceeds from ticket sales will benefit a charitable fund set up to help local restaurants recover.
Where Y'At, Po-boy?
Surrey's Café and Juice Bar (1418 Magazine St., 524-3828) owner Greg Surrey is teaming up with local cartoonist Bunny Matthews to open a new Uptown po-boy shop called Vic and Nat'ly's — a tribute to Matthews' comic strip of the same name. The business motto, as recited and spelled out by Matthews, is "da best po-boy ya evuh met at da corna of CL-ten and Carondelet," which uses a somewhat obscure local vernacular for the restaurant's future location at the intersection of Carondelet and Clio streets in Central City. They expect the restaurant to open around May, serving po-boys and a daily hot plate special. The Vic and Nat'ly comic strip, created by Matthews in 1982 for The Times-Picayune , portrays the owners of a fictitious Ninth Ward po-boy shop and bar. It was more recently a monthly feature in the local music magazine OffBeat and moved to the pages of Gambit Weekly after Katrina. The characters have also graced the delivery trucks of Leidenheimer Baking Co., which naturally will supply the po-boy bread for the new restaurant.
Cash for Cuisine
New Orleans culinary institutions the Roman Candy Man , Mandina's Restaurant (3800 Canal St., 482-9179; www.mandinas.com), Dooky Chase Restaurant (2301 Orleans Ave., 821-0600) Angelo Brocato Ice Cream (214 N. Carrollton Av., 486-1465), John Gendusa's Bakery (2009 Mirabeau Ave., 283-2747) and seven local farmers and fishermen are the recipients of a combined $30,000 in grant money from the quality food advocacy group Slow Food USA. The money, awarded March 21 at the Uptown Crescent City Farmers Market (www.marketumbrella.org), was raised by Slow Food chapters across the country, which organized fundraisers on Mardi Gras this year to support New Orleans food businesses struggling to recover from Katrina. Profiles of the grant recipients are available online at www.slowfoodusa.org.