John Folse, national celebrity chefs headed to Grand Isle

Staff reports

Many of the nation’s leading celebrity chefs, including John Folse of Gonzales, Rick Tramonto, Charles Carroll, Dean Fearing, Rick Moonen and Susur Lee, in conjunction with the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board, will gather in Grand Isle at the Bridge Side Marina on  June 28 at 10 a.m. to show united support of Louisiana’s fishermen and seafood suppliers.

Performance artist, Michael Israel, will create two paintings following the speakers’ comments. Secretary of Wildlife & Fisheries Robert Barham will speak and Gov. Bobby Jindal has been invited.

“I’ve been bombarded with questions from chefs about the seafood industry in Louisiana,” Folse said. “How bad is it? Can we still get Louisiana seafood? What can I do to help? Finally, I just said, ‘Come on down and have a look for yourself.’”

The chefs arrive Sun., June 27th and following a brief tour of the gulf waters surrounding Grand Isle, they will gather for a “Seafood Jam” session at Eddie Rispone’s beachhouse on the island.

As the pollution of the gulf waters continues, stories of the crisis’s effects slowly unravel. Now, it’s the culinarians turn to speak. Monday morning each nationally acclaimed chef will briefly comment on the value of Louisiana seafood to his restaurant and state. 

“I’m sad for the fishing families and what this crisis is doing to coastal wildlife, the beaches and tourism,” Tramonto said. “But most striking to me is what’s happening to the seafood industry as a whole; the long range effects of what I cook and what diners eat.”

Chefs, especially, depend upon Louisiana’s $2.4 billion-dollar seafood industry to adorn the plates and restaurant tables of diners nationwide. The Gulf crisis affects not only Louisiana and the Gulf states, but has far-reaching effects across the country. 

“No one will come eat at these great restaurants on the coast, and the worst thing of all, nobody is talking about all the great fish and shellfish we are about to lose forever,” Carroll said. “This man-made disaster has changed our world and will soon change the way we eat. We all need to pay attention. ”

Following the comments, there will be a question and answer session, and Israel, a humanitarian artist whose expression touches the soul, will create two masterpieces as participants watch.

The paintings will be auctioned at a later date with proceeds benefitting the Friends of the Fishermen Fund established through the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board. A seafood luncheon will follow.

“I grew up on a houseboat on the intracostal waterway across from the beach in Hollywood, Fla.,” Israel said. “Mom was a sailboat captain and my step dad the dock master. We ate lots seafood from the fishing boats at our marina. 30 years ago the water was clear; you could catch lobsters a few yards off shore. I grew disgusted with all the garbage people tossed into the intracoastal to go out with the tide. I stopped swimming and skiing in it, so you can only imagine how I badly feel and how much I’d like to do something about the oil in our ocean.”

America’s freshest, wild-caught seafood comes from Louisiana waters.

Generations of men and women have fed seafood lovers worldwide by harvesting the fish, crabs, shrimp and oysters of the Gulf Coast. Louisiana’s natural resources are of great value to not only Louisiana businesses, but to chefs, consumers and communities nationwide.

“I am honored that these amazing chefs are traveling to Louisiana to show their support of our Louisiana fishing communities,” said Ewell Smith, Executive Director of Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board. “These chefs understand the value of Louisiana seafood to the nation and their presence helps lift spirits and shows our fishermen that they are not alone.”

For more information about the Chefs Ashore gathering in Grand Isle, contact Danling Gideon at 225-644-6000 or via email,  HYPERLINK ""