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Gastronomes on the Gulf: Bernstein, Schwartz & Vauthy Arrive in New Orleans

[Right: Michelle Bernstein and Cris Comerford at Zea Rotisserie & Grill. Photo by Jackie Sayet]

As we reported last week, a trifecta of Miami chefs are in New Orleans for a White House-sanctioned event to promote Gulf seafood. Special Eater correspondent Jackie Sayet is embedded with the troops and reporting on their activities and antics.

Southern hospitality was in full effect Sunday night as a motorcade-flanked coach whizzed Miami's chef ambassadors Michael Schwartz and Michelle Bernstein, White House executive chef Criseta Comerford and others around New Orleans for a dine around opener to Monday's hardcore examination of the issues surrounding the plight of the Gulf seafood industry post BP-Gate. Stops on the dine around: Zea's Rotisserie & Grill, Ralph's on the Park and Restaurant August. And where was Red, The Steakhouse chef, Peter Vauthy? Stuck in the hotel all night battling, of all things, food poisoning, which, apparently he brought along with him in his carry-on.

Karaoke-style bus ride antics aside, Ralph's and Zea's served passed Asian-style hors d'oeuvres, all using Gulf product, but batter-fried with overpowering sauces that masked the ingredients. The best bites of the evening were at last stop August, where chef John Besh charmed visiting toques and Louisiana Seafood reps with foodgasms of Gulf seafood including shrimp, soft shelled crab, and lumb crab.

Chefs Bernstein and Schwartz snagged a printout of his supplier contact list right then and there, which may prove the most useful catch of the trip. We'll see if that's still so during Monday's shrimp boat excursion. We'll also see if Vauthy makes it onto that boat after his brutal night. [EaterWire]

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