Jul 22, 2013 11:11 AM by MELISSA CANONE(PHOTO COURTESY: MGN ONLINE)
Soirée Royale, a tasting event and culinary competition of Acadiana's finest chefs, is scheduled for Monday, September 9, 2013 at Evangeline Downs Event Center in Opelousas. The annual event, now celebrating its 15th year, is presented by the Opelousas-St. Landry Chamber of Commerce as a premier event and an education scholarship fundraiser for graduating high students in St. Landry Parish. This past May, the Chamber of Commerce provided over $10,000 in scholarships for these students.
A special wine tasting, sponsored by National Republic, will kick-off the event at 5:30 p.m. Food tasting begins at 6:00 p.m. New to the event this year, will be a craft beer tasting with Bayou Teche Brewing. The company was founded on this simple dream - to craft beers that complement the cuisine and lifestyle of Cajuns and Creoles.
This year's Celebrity Chef is Paul Miller, Executive Chef with K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans' historic French Quarter and a native of Opleousas, LA.
Each year, more than 35 chefs from across Acadiana participate in Soirée Royale, attracting an audience of some 600 to 700 guests. The event allows area chefs to showcase their signature dish(s) for culinary competition in the following eight categories: appetizer, soup, seafood, meat, yam, chocolate and dessert. The celebrity judges for this year's culinary event feature chefs, public personalities, authors, food and beverage bloggers, foodies and experts in the culinary industry including Smiley Anders, author and columnist with The Advocate, Jay Ducote, writer and author of Bite and Booze website and radio show and Paul Ayo, owner of E's Kitchen in Lafayette.
While cash prizes are offered to winners, one of the most important elements of the event is the promotion it offers area restaurants and chefs, which in turn creates a stronger cultural economy for our culinary industry. Chef Troy Bijeaux, owner of Café Josephine in Sunset, is returning to the competition for his second year. "I experienced an influx in business at my restaurant after participating in Soirée Royale last year. Individuals were not only able to find out about the restaurant but the event allowed them the opportunity to experience some of the unique dishes we provide at the restaurant, such as our butternut squash soup."
"This is our favorite event of the year, we look forward to it. We enjoy the Soirée for a few different reasons. It allows us Chefs to do what we enjoy most, in a fun & friendly competition. In the end, win or lose, we all enjoy it. However, the most important thing to remember is that we are there to showcase our product/talents to the guests who are our customers, & to hopefully reach potential customers. At the end of the day we all win." Chef Jason Huguet, owner of the Steamboat Warehouse restaurant in Washington, and a long-time participant at the Soirée.
Chef registration forms may be obtained from the Chamber website at www.opelousaschamber.org; by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the Chamber office at 337-942-2683. Tickets for the event are priced at $40. A portion of the funds from this event pays for the Felix Dezauche-J.W. Lowe scholarship and the Opelousas/St. Landry Chamber of Commerce Scholarship. "Today's students are paying higher costs for education and through these scholarships we are able to assist them with their college tuition." Frankie Bertrand, Executive Director, Opelousas-St. Landry Chamber of Commerce.