La Vie de Ville: Burgers, bourbon, beer raise food bank funds

A Hunger to Help

For the second consecutive year, Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana hosted its popular Burgers, Bourbon & Beer fundraiser to a packed house at Generations Hall. Patrons got a sneak peek at what awaited them inside the venue’s main entrance as restaurants lined the street outside to prep and grill up their burger creations for this special event.

The aroma that filled the air could be enjoyed from blocks away. If you weren’t hungry upon arrival, it certainly didn’t take long before you were diving into one of dozens of tasty burger offerings submitted from a cross section of local restaurants. Some eateries pulled out all the stops like Bayou Burger, which served up freshly ground alligator and bacon patties, or Cowbell’s Duck Dynasty masterpiece and Manning’s divine Double Decker version of a Kobe Beef Slider.

If all of this tasting left you parched, you weren’t alone. Second Harvest supporters could select from over 17 different bourbons to quench their thirst. Ben Gersh, Glazer’s Distributors’ special events coordinator for Louisiana, explained.

“The Second Harvest folks initially approached me with the idea of creating a wine dinner fundraiser but I wanted to do something different centered around bourbon. So, we put our heads together and came up with Burgers, Bourbon & Beer.

Look around at this crowd, I think we’ve got a hit on our hands,” Gersh said.

He also pointed out that bourbon events such as this are exploding nationwide. They are particularly popular among women, and based on the demographic I observed, I’d have to agree.

Crescent Crown provided all the suds for the evening and there were plenty of choices around for sampling. From good ole Abita Amber to Fat Tire Amber Ale, there’s truly nothing quite like an ice-cold beer to chase down a great burger. Glazer’s Distributors and Crescent Crown were two of the primary sponsors of this event. While guests partied on, chefs from each of the restaurants represented were busy showcasing their burger creations to a distinguished panel of judges that included NOWFE’s Jamie Peckenpaugh, Louisiana Restaurant Association’s Wendy Waren, the DDD’s Nolan Marshall, Second Harvest chef Wes Landry and WWL’s Mike Hoss.

When I asked Hoss what’s his secret to judging a competition like this, he simply replied, “pace.” With that, the panel went about the tough task of selecting the winner, who on this night was the young chef and proprietor of The Company Burger, Adam Biderman. His double-stacked classic slider featured lamb as the main ingredient. Biderman’s entry also captured the People’s Choice Award.

What a night for the mission of the Second Harvest Food Bank, which leads the fight against hunger in South Louisiana.

“Over 500 tickets were sold,” Second Harvest spokesperson Terri Kaupp said. “That’s up significantly from last year.”

The organization’s board chairman, Jan Hayden, said the group will soon kick off “Harvest the Music” concerts in Lafayette Square. For a complete musical line-up and to learn more about Second Harvest and its work to combat hunger, visit www.no-hunger.org.

The free eight-week concert series kicks off Sept. 11. Remember to go hungry and thirsty to the shows since proceeds from food and beverage sales are dedicated to the Second Harvest Food Bank.

La Vie de Ville captures city life New Orleans style every Thursday in The New Orleans Advocate’s Crescent City News section. Please email information on your upcoming event to robertagrove@hotmail.com.