It’s not any evening that serves up Emeril Lagasse, Donald Link, and a fez-clad Mario Batali; Cajun music by Feufollet and The Red Stick Ramblers; a dance performance by the genius that is 610 Stompers, and boudin variations from 50 of the South’s top chefs. But it was all there for the taking, with hot sauce on the side, at Boudin and Beer held on Friday evening in New Orleans’ warehouse district.
It’s often said that a Cajun seven-course meal is a pound of boudin (a beloved Cajun sausage traditionally made with pork, rice, liver, and seasonings) and a six pack of beer, so it’s no surprise that spirits were high as over 2500 sausage enthusiasts, dressed in the suggested Cajun cocktail attire (jeans and boots) enjoyed free flowing Abita and Buffalo Trace and everything from classic smoked boudin to “Memphis Sushi” (boudin, bbq sauce and cheddar served on a saltine) from Peg Leg Porker’s Carey Bringle.
Founded by Emeril, the chef famous for kicking things up a notch, the second annual shindig (co-chaired by Link and Batali), benefitted The Emeril Lagasse Foundation, which for the last 10 years has donated money to several local organizations benefitting children, including the new culinary center at Nocca (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts) and Saint Michael Special School, which is particularly near and dear to the chef’s heart.
Recipes ran the gamut from smoked boudin prepared by chefs from Link Restaurant Group (including Ryan Prewitt, and Steve Strejewski, clad in unicorn air brush t-shirts) to Morrocan-spiced boudin that inspired Batali’s festive garb and two belly dancers. Susan Spicer, chef at Bayona and Mondo, served cherry peppers stuffed with seafood boudin and nutria (a.k.a. swamp rat) boudin packaged in a crispy spring roll with Asian flavors.
“New Orleans has a festival for just about every food except boudin,” Donald Link said to the evening crowd. “I couldn’t be happier to be involved in an event that honors one of our local staples.” An after-party held a few steps away at Cochon included an ice luge that cradled a river of bourbon, a unicorn mannequin (winner of the evening’s favorite photo-op award) and hot, triple-decker pork cheeseburgers. Just in case everyone didn’t get enough sausage.
Donate to The Emeril Lagasse Foundation.
A few photo highlights: