It was both an honor and a surprise to be nominated for a 2008 Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Women Who Inspire Award. And it was a happy and fulfilling coincidence that the conference and award ceremony was held in New Orleans last weekend. It was wonderful to visit the city and find a place at the table with fellow award nominees including such icons as Ann Cooper (The Renegade Lunch Lady), Gale Gand and Lidia Bastianich.
The weekend also afforded the opportunity to visit http://www.oakleyonorder.com/ with CulinaryCorps alums working at magical places and meet new folks doing good work in the Lower 9th Ward.
Plus, and not surprisingly, we ate amazingly well – caramelized cochon du lait with hominy at Bourbon House, red beans and rice (with sausage) at Fraidy’s in the Bywater and beautiful dishes during the award ceremony meal by Alison Vines-Rushing and Susan Spicer among many other talented chefs.
Our warmest congratulations to Ann Cooper, a shining example of a true citizen-chef and winner of this year’s 2008 WCR Community Service Award. We were honored to be nominated alongside our long-time inspiration and know her efforts have made cheap oakley great strides in changing the way we feed our children.