Justin Girouard, chef and owner of The French Press, has been nominated for a 2012 James Beard Award.
To say this is "kind of a big deal" is like saying a tablespoon of cayenne in your mouth is "a little bit hot." The James Beard Awards are equivalent to the Oscars, except of course tastier. The categories are vast — both the food and beverage sides of a restaurant are noted and best chefs are broken up by U.S. region. Girourard is nominated in the "Best Chef: South" category.
This same honor was given last year to another Louisiana chef, Stephen Stryjewski of Cochon in New Orleans. Past Louisiana winners have included Cochon's founder Donald Link and also Susan Spicer, John Besh and more. With national eyes turned toward Lafayette it isn't a leap to assume we can expect more nominees from our side of the Atchafalaya in the coming years.
Girourard is a fairly new chef. He began working in Crescent City eateries about t10 years ago and after getting his feet wet opened The French Press on Vermilion in downtown Lafayette two years ago. With its bricked walls constantly packed with the salivating masses it's easy to see why he was nominated — Girourard takes typical Cajun and Southern fare and turns it on its ear a bit, enough to be innovative and not enough to alienate the grandparents who grew up eating foods made the same way. Even our beloved downtown fireman statue points toward The French Press.
The fun part? Most people are knowingly nominated by a colleague, restaurant manager or friend. Not Girourard. He doesn't know who put him up for the biggest culinary award so far in his career, although some of us outside his restaurant have theories and guesses.
Whether Girourard wins will be discovered May 7 along with the rest of the nominees in New York City where they will be fêted over a weekend. The awards are announced at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Since 1990 the awards have singled out the best chefs, restaurants, bars, writers and others in North America. James Beard was a singer and actor who turned to catering in the 1940s after moving to New York City. This led to the publication of his first cookbook. In 1955 he founded the James Beard Cooking School and went on to become one of the first nationally known chefs, bringing particularly French and also Chinese influences to American households. This established foundation seeks to honor what Beard began.
Follow the James Beard Foundation Twitter feed here for minute-by-minute announcements May 7 or check them out for great recipes, links and interviews.
Shoppers familiar with Louisiana-based Rouses Market might be surprised when they walk into the new third location set to open at the Corner of Johnston Street and Duhon Road south the Acadiana Mall on Wednesday.
Noted architect and co-founder/principal of Architects Southwest receives highest honor given to former student.
Know an innovator, job creator and visionary with a penchant for hard work? We want to know that person.
If you care about the wellbeing of Louisiana’s college students, vote against Amendments 1 and 2.
A Mandeville media consultant with big name political connections pleaded guilty Monday to a series of federal mail fraud charges.
Despite a decline in global oil prices affecting the outlook for domestic ethylene producers, South African company moves forward.
1,595 rigs were exploring for oil and 332 for gas. A year ago there were 1,738 active rigs.
Prestigious honor annually recognizes a single attorney for excellence in public interest/pro bono work.
JPMorgan Chase is giving $1 million to Louisiana's community and technical colleges, to help with workforce training efforts to match students to available jobs.
Law firm unveils newly renovated 200-year-old building.
UL grad named web developer at BBR Creative
Lafayette-based emergency department staffing and management company raises $120 million in senior credit facilities through GE Capital, Healthcare Financial Services.
High-rise apartment building, parking garage, hotel and retail part of new development.
The number of Louisianans with jobs continued to set records in September, but the state's unemployment rate kept rising.
Louisiana is drowning, quickly.
An investment group led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets will buy the Louisiana power company Cleco for $3.4 billion.
Local developer’s Lake Charles Gardens LLC purchases buildings and leases; land still owned by Dugas family.
Economist Loren Scott says Louisiana is in the midst of an industrial boom unlike any other in its history, with more than $100 billion in industrial projects either under construction or in the engineering and design phase.
The Louisiana Treasury holds $18 million in Israel Bonds — bonds that earn 2.868 percent when the three-year U.S. Treasury is yielding 1.08 percent.
ABiz celebrates another class of Acadiana's most influential female trailblazers, the Lourdes Foundation honors a local philanthropist and MedExpress in Opelousas celebrates its 22nd year as the “little ambulance service that could.”
Is Louisiana’s O&G industry ready to head south of the border?
Downtown’s newest live-work space for creatives doubles as a gallery for other upcoming artists to show their work.
A maritime case originating in Lafayette federal court could become a game changer for the oil and gas industry.
Here’s what’s at stake in the November Senate race — regardless of whether Republicans gain control of the upper chamber.
From the publisher’s in-box: ABiz reaches out to Lake Charles, time to “Come Home, Louisiana,” and now accepting nominations for Entrepreneur of the Year.