August 18-20, 2016 -The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center hosted the 4th Annual Farm To Table Experience, one of the most food-informative events across the nation. From restaurateurs, chefs, farmers to foodies, this annual conference places some of the most dedicated food professionals under one roof providing copious amounts of industry knowledge.
Kicking off the three day hand-son food and education experience, we reluctantly arrived at the end of day one, just in time for the Garden to Glass Reception. Sponsored by Donner Peltier Distillers and Nelson and Pade, Inc., where local Mixologists shook up Orzya®️ Vodka and Orzya®️ Gin cocktails using ONLY local donated ingredients.
This kick-starter reception to the Food to Table Experience, gave us an insight on meeting key note speakers, chefs, farmers, authors and mixologists on their overall thoughts of this particular food and education event participation over the years.
We spoke with Tim Hemphill, Vice President Sales and Marketing of the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center to understand the overall goal of this years' event, compared to previous years.
"The Farm to Table Experience is growing stronger and gaining world-wide recognition every year. Our goal is to keep spreading awareness about this public event and bring in new faces alongside industry leaders. The off-season at the Convention Center is something we are addressing, however it is not holding us back one bit. We encourage our visitors to ask questions and are open to ways of strengthening our programs."
As our conversation continued, Mr. Hemphill politely introduced us to two guests sitting amongst each other at a table:
Meet Eric Cook, Executive Chef and Brooke Foster, Sous Chef of the American Sector Restaurant and Bar connected to the infamous National World War II Museum. By far, this is what the Farm to Table Experience is all about -- a chance to meet local chef's who are not only game changers in the local food industry, but real people who are passionate about where your food comes from and how this food is delivered to the consumers' plate.
Chef Cook is a Marine Veteran and local has held multiple positions in the restaurant arena here in New Orleans to include the well-known Garden District restaurant, Commander's Palace where he and Foster joined forces and took their power-team with them to lead operations at the American Sector.
During World War I and WWII, victory gardens were essential in survival and so, Chef Cook took this philosophy, alongside his military background and applied a Victory Garden-to-Table menu concept which features locally grown vegetables, herbs in addition to outsourcing hand-selected meats, seafood, and dairy products from artisanal producers around New Orleans.
We are due to follow up with these dynamic chefs in the near future to really tap into what a sustainable restaurant operation is all about and why low-carbon footprint travel may help advocate towards the National World War II Museum in time to come.
Featured above, meet the talented mixologist of the Garden to Glass Reception opener at the Farm to Table Experience 2016 at the New Orleans Convention Center.
Mixologist and Bar Manager Miki Nikolic of Emeril's New Orleans, featured a gin based cocktail called the "Belisima" made from a base of fresh watermelon, basil with Orzya®️ Gin. Not too sweet, and deemed this the perfect poolside beverage of Summer. The interesting part of this reception was the chance to interact with local bar professionals and how they featured a "no waste" concept to their cocktails.
Bar Curator, Christopher Brian of Meauxbar & Arroser NOLA represented restaurant Coquette serving up a "Corn and Rice" cocktail that used every part of the corn to include the husk! Truly, this is a must-try recipe! In fact, every station offered an ingredient card showcasing unthinkable ingredients we plan to put to the test at home!
Aside from the Garden to Glass Reception opener, we sat in on Concurrent Sessions that featured some of the most talented, hard working professionals with extensive backgrounds in farming, government and education.
Our Associates were so impressed with the variety of Plenary and Concurrent Session speakers attending, they couldn't believe flight and/or affordability accommodations, hindered them from attending.
We teamed up with Social Media
Group, LLC a New Orleans based company, and came up with a strategy to solve attendance concerns, all while conserving Low-Carbon Foot Print Travel.
That's right, similar to the shift in the way we obtain information and how we get there in our travels to obtain information, online streaming is where we are... Streaming can be the wave of how we can possibly attend events in our travels, if the platform was there as an option to virtually login, people would pay to view hands down!
Octavia Books was on standby throughout the weekend and featured author signings and an array of interesting books from their store, catered to the event. We had a chance to catch up with Owner Tom Lowenburg and discussed our passion for books!
Luckily for us, we ran into local Elizabeth Williams, and had a couple of her books signed:
and co-author of:
Both of her books are available in hardcover, paperback or take it with you anywhere via Google Play!
You can also find Liz at the Southern Food Museum in Mid-City where she co-hosts a cooking series and showcases a brief walkthrough session of the cocktail side of the museum.
Love books too? Great! Check out upcoming exclusive book signings on our event calendar.
Our list can go on about this truly amazing events and things to do in the wonderful City of New Orleans and want to personally thank everyone we met, but did not mention in this particular article. Hopefully, we will have a chance to catch up with everyone next year! Until then, find us on social media...
Travel well friends,
Travel Critic USA