Off the menu for May 5, 2013

M bistro at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, has a new chef de cuisine, Frank Gray.

Prior to joining the New Orleans hotel’s restaurant, Gray held the position of restaurant chef for the Vineyard Grill at the The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grand Lakes, since 2008. He also has worked at The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach, and The Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner, in McLean, Va., a news release said.

The chef describes his style of cooking as regional American cuisine with French influence.

“I like to cook in the style of wherever I am. I look forward to developing my Creole style of cooking and creating cuisine that both locals and visitors will enjoy,” he said.

James Beard nominees

Four New Orleans chefs are among those vying for Best Chef honors at the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards black-tie gala Monday night at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.

Competing in the Best Chef South Region category are Justin Deviller, of La Petite Grocery; Tory McPhail, Commander’s Palace; Alon Shaya, Domenica; and Sue Zemanick, Gautreau’s. The fifth nominee in that category is Jeff McInnis, of Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Miami Beach.

New Orleans chef John Besh’s restaurant August is a nominee in the Outstanding Restaurant category. And, chef Emeril Lagasse has been named as the recipient of the 2013 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year Award.

The James Beard Foundation Awards honors professionals in the food and beverage industries.

Truce for the Troops

Seven Baton Rouge-area restaurants and beverage companies donated food and beverages to “Truce for the Troops,” a flag football game that pitted Republican and Democratic Louisiana legislators against one another to benefit a military services group.

The April 21 event, spearheaded by state Rep. Nick Lorusso, R-New Orleans, and sponsored by the Louisiana Restaurant Association Self Insurer’s Fund, was held at LSU’s Tiger Stadium. It benefitted Operation Homefront Louisiana, an organization that provides emergency financial and other assistance to families of service members and wounded veterans.

Restaurants and beverage companies that donated food and drinks were: Sammy’s Grill, Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, Mestizo Restaurant, Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar, Ruffino’s Restaurant, Baton Rouge Coca-Cola and Crescent Crown Distributing.

The flag football game, which the Democrats won 28-21, was open to the public and raised more than $16,000 for Operation Homefront Louisiana.

Martha Stewart Living in La.

Martha Stewart Living recently visited Bayou Teche Brewing in Breaux Bridge and the resulting story by Danny Farnish is now posted on the magazine’s website.

Farnish also mentions visiting Poché Cajun Restaurant & Market in his story, which is at http://livingblog.marthastewart.com/2013/04/dispatch-from-lafayette-louisiana.html.

Culinary students featured

Four Louisiana Culinary Institute students will appear in an upcoming Food Network cooking television show, said Charlie Ruffolo, LCI’s director of public affairs.

The series, “The Freshman Class,” will debut at 9:30 p.m. June 10. It will follow first-time LCI students as they go to culinary school and juggle their personal life and work.

The show’s film crew was in Baton Rouge April 12 to follow the students as they helped prepare a five-course meal under the direction of chef Ryan André, of Le Creolé, for Louisiana Feast of Fields: A Gastronomic Gala. The event was sponsored by the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens at Burden, Louisiana Agribusiness Council and LCI.

MMi Culinary Services

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, along with Sam Kass, the White House senior policy adviser on nutrition and executive director of first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign, were in Kenner Wednesday to recognize MMi Culinary Services for its work within the guidelines of the Child Nutrition Labeling Program, a news release said.

Products produced in accordance with the program are generally purchased by food service providers for Food &Nutrition Service meal programs. MMi is Louisiana’s only USDA national commodity processor and provides meals to more than 200 schools in Jefferson and Orleans Parishes.

Its recognition came during an event held at the company’s expanded and renovated facility at 131 23rd St. in Kenner.