Gala and Auction Raises Record Amount for New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS, LA (October 30, 2006) – Carnivale du Vin, a culinary event and fundraiser for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation raised over $2.5 million dollars to benefit children in the New Orleans area. The sold-out event began with a reception showcasing the chefs of all nine of Emeril’s restaurants, and special Carnivale du Vin bottling, created by honorary event “Bacchus” Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat. Afterwards, there was a five course seated dinner featuring food and wine pairings by the world’s top chefs Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and local pastry chef duo Tariq Hanna and Joel Dondis; with wines by some of the country’s most renowned vintners including Joseph Bastianich (Bastianich Vineyards), Grace and Ken Evenstad (Domaine Serene), Carol and Fred Schrader (Schrader Cellars), Jayson Woodbridge (Hundred Acre), and Suzie and Paul Frank (Gemstone Vineyards).
The evening featured a live auction filled with one-of-a-kind experiences that garnered over $1.6 million of the night’s proceeds. Guests then danced into the early morning hours to musical performances from renowned New Orleans artists – the legendary Allen Toussaint and his band, Irma Thomas, Davell Crawford and Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue and the New Birth Brass Band. Special guest Michael McDonald performed many of his hits along with a song that he wrote as a special tribute to New Orleans with a surprise performance by Emeril Lagasse on percussion. Over 600 guests attended the event on Saturday, October 28 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. Guests of the event came from across the United States, with huge support from local New Orleans businesses and individuals, major sponsors included Food Network, Wine Spectator, American Airlines and the Hilton New Orleans Riverside. Partners included Republic Beverage Company and USA Hosts.
“For its second year, we’re honored to have the support of so many accomplished chefs and vintners who in a true showing of comradery and support, have given their time and talents to the Foundation,” says Emeril Lagasse. “We are also so thankful to our sponsors, our guests and everyone who contributed to making Carnivale du Vin a tremendous success for another year.”
At the event, the Foundation announced over $320,000 in grants to New Orleans charities including a $250,000 initial grant towards the Café Reconcile Capital Campaign to create the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Culinary Learning Center; as well as large grants to America’s Second Harvest Kids’ Café and Covenant House’s Covenant Café.
“The event’s proceeds surpassed our expectations and we were overwhelmed by the generosity of so many guests who opened their hearts and expressed their dedication to helping New Orleans rebuild,” says Kristin Shannon, Executive Director of the Emeril Lagasse Foundation. “We look forward to next year’s event which will be held on November 2 and 3 in New Orleans.
The highest bidder of the evening was a New Orleans businessman whose generosity totaled $385,000 in bids towards top lots — the Emeril’s Food Network Experience and the Ultimate Birthday Celebration with Emeril and Sammy Hagar in Cabo San Lucas. Other high bids included Shrader Cellar’s Napa Valley Getaway for $170,000, a Domaine Serene Oregon Package which brought two bids of $120,000 each. A last minute addition from Wolfgang Puck to cook dinner at the home of Emeril and Alden Lagasse resulted in three bids of $100,000 each.
Photo By: Steven Freeman