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Southern Food & Beverage Museum Marks 20th Anniversary

NEW ORLEANS – The Southern Food & Beverage Museum (SoFAB) announced its 20th anniversary with a series of exciting updates, exhibitions and events through the remainder of the year. To mark this major milestone SoFAB has published its first-ever cookbook, and throughout the year it will host a series of special events and exhibitions.

“As we celebrate our 20th anniversary, we reflect on the rich culinary traditions of the South and the vital role that food plays in our culture,” said SoFAB CEO Constance “Connie” Jackson. “The Southern Food and Beverage Museum stands as a testament to the delicious heritage of the region, showcasing the flavors and stories that make Southern cuisine so unique and revered. We are excited for the next 20 years of preserving and celebrating the soulful essence of Southern food right here in one of America’s great culinary destinations.”

Jackson was named the museum’s new CEO earlier this month and founder Liz Williams continues in her emeritus role, and long-time SoFAB supporter and board member Butler Burdine was named its new board chairman.

To commemorate its two decades as a top culinary attraction in one of America’s great food cities, SoFAB’s plans include:

  • The release of the museum’s first-ever cookbook, “SoFAB Cook Book: Recipes from the Modern South,” by museum founder Elizabeth Williams & Maddie Hayes with the Foreword written by esteemed New Orleans restaurateur Dickie Brennan. It shares recipes particular to each southern state with recipes by chefs who feel the connection of home. The book is published by LSU Press and the museum will host its official book release party on Saturday, June 22, at its Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. headquarters.
  • The museum will be collaborating with acclaimed local resistance artist Brandan “BMike” Odums of Studio Be on artwork that celebrates the culinary heritage of the South.
  • A series of special exhibitions, including the history of coffee, entitled “The Natural Port: A Look At Coffee Culture in New Orleans,” opening Wednesday, July 24, as well as the history of tailgating, opening in the Fall as the city prepares to host Super Bowl LIX in February 2025.
  • A celebratory event in the Fall with top New Orleans chefs and restaurants to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Oysters Rockefeller, invented in New Orleans in 1899 at Antoine’s by second-generation owner and Chef Jules Alciatore.
  • A thematic 20th-anniversary gala to conclude the year, with more details to come.

“When it comes to culinary and cocktail culture, New Orleans consistently ranks at the top of the list,” said New Orleans & Company Chief Marketing Officer Mark Romig. “Our restaurants and chefs are second to none and a driving force in our tourism economy, so it is natural that the South’s top culinary museum – SoFAB – is located right here in New Orleans where cuisine is at the heart of how our great American city celebrates life and brings joy to travelers from all over the world.”

Dickie Brennan, one of New Orleans’ prominent restaurateurs, was instrumental in helping establish the museum when it was first located at the New Orleans Riverwalk before moving to its permanent location on Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. in the Central City neighborhood, said Museum Founder Williams.

Brennan expressed why he has felt it important to be involved with SoFAB and its new cookbook.

“Preserving our culinary heritage is essential in a vibrant city like New Orleans, where food is not just sustenance, but a cultural expression of our rich history and traditions,” said Brennan. “New Orleans is the natural location for a museum dedicated to the history and importance of food and drink in the South because it’s so central to our way of life.”

The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is home to several entities: The Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC); Deelightful Roux School of Cooking; National Culinary Heritage Register; and Nitty Grits Media Network.

For more information about the Southern Food & Beverage Museum and its 20th anniversary celebrations, visit www.southernfood.org, and follow the museum on Instagram and Facebook.

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