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New Orleans Wine & Food Experience Announces 2020 Culinary Award Winners

The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is honored to announce the winners of the 2020 Culinary Awards.

The coveted Best of Show Black Medallions and checks for $1,000.00 will be presented to each Best of Show award recipient during NOWFE’s Seated Mini-Vinola event at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel in the Grand Salon on Saturday, December 12, 2-5 pm. At this modified version of NOWFE’s premium wine tasting, guests will sample ten rare and highly valued wines from around the world paired with five highly acclaimed New Orleans restaurants all while being safely seated.

Due to the cancellation of this year’s main event in March, the Culinary Awards announcement and medal distribution was delayed; however, the awards competition took place prior to the scheduled event, by a distinguished panel of judges. Tickets to the safely seated event are available here: 

This year’s winners are…. 


 – Chef Brandon Felder, Centerplate
House-Made Brioche, Sous-Vide Free-Range Chicken Egg, Louisiana Jumbo Lump Blue Crabmeat, Blue Crab Mousse, Cajun Caviar, Crystal Hot Sauce Hollandaise and Shaved Oregon Truffle 

 – Pastry Chef Ashley McMillan, Ritz-Carlton New Orleans (currently at Sucré)
Yuzu Mousse, Honey Cashew Crémeux with a Caramelized Brown Butter Biscuit, Cashew Brittle and a Gold Splash 


GOLD – Chef Chosita Palakawong Na Aydhya
Hyatt Regency New Orleans
Thai Seafood Coconut Soup with Shrimp, Mussels, Snow Crab, Artichoke, and Simeji Mushrooms accented by Cilantro and Shrimp Oils and a Coconut Black Sesame Cracker 

SILVER – Chef Matt Farmer, Trenasse
Louisiana Blue Crab Bisque with Blue Crab Sabayon and Sherry accompanied by Toasted Brioche, Jumbo Lump Crab and Micro-Greens

BRONZE – Chef Tom Wolfe, The Rib Room in the Royal Orleans Hotel
Peppered Maple Bacon Quail Stew with Wild Rice and Quail Egg


GOLD – Chef Nancy Santiwat, 
Hyatt Regency New Orleans 
Creole Seafood Yellow Curry: Fried Butterflied Coconut Shrimp; Thai-Style Crab Cake with Basil, Kaffir Lime and Coconut Cream; Housemade Yellow Curry Crawfish; and Ginger and Garlic Scented Purple Rice in Banana Leaf with Pickled Cucumber and Red Onion 

SILVER – Chef Mike Brewer, Copper Vine
Blackened Redfish with Mango Butter, Pickled Okra Chow-Chow and Forbidden Rice 

BRONZE – Chef Ricardo Estoban, InterContinental New Orleans
New Orleans Barbecued Shrimp with Cheesy Smoked Gouda Grits 


GOLD – Chef Emilio Fernandez, 
Hyatt Regency New Orleans 
Pineapple, Guajillo Chile and Honey-Glazed Pork Belly with New Orleans Red Beans Refrito, Charred Corn Salsa and Pickled Red Onion

SILVER – Chef Tom Beckmann, New Orleans School of Cooking
Hoe Cake Topped with White Bean Purée and Steen’s Cane Syrup Braised Short Rib Debris, Crispy Crystal Onions, Roma Tomato and Rosemary Reduction and Chive Oil  

BRONZE – Chef P.J. Haines, Food Drunk Food Truck
Drunken Pig Cone: 18 Hour Smoked Pulled Pork, Habanero-Serrano Coleslaw with Maker’s Mark BBQ Sauce in a Waffle Cone


GOLD – Chef David Morris,
 The Steakhouse at Harrah’s 
Braised Akuashi Wagyu Short Rib with Red Wine Demi Glace and Artichoke Purée, Mushroom Chicharrón, and Sheep’s Milk Ricotta Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Olives 

SILVER – Chef Matt Farmer, Trenasse 
“Surf & Turf”: Smoked Short Rib with a Housemade Demi-Glace, Roasted Root Vegetable Salad and Creamy Pepper Jack Grits / Redfish Meuniere with Brabant Potatoes

BRONZE – Chef Vlad Ahmadyarov, The Grill Room 
Rye Beer Braised Short Rib with Simeji Mushrooms and Tomato Ragu 


GOLD – Chef Ross Dover, 
Restaurant August 
Shiitake, Beech and Oyster Mushroom Stuffed Dumplings, Roasted Garlic Miso, Charred Vegetable Broth with Jalapeño Vinegar and Pea Shoots 

SILVER – Chef Jared Tees, 18 Steak at L’Auberge Hotel & Casino Baton Rouge
“Deep South” Meat Pies with Pork and Wagyu Beef roasted in Shawarma Seasoning with House-Made Harissa and Labneh Sauce, Pickled Shallots and Raisins

BRONZE (Tie) – Chef Carlos Ortega, 
Hyatt Regency New Orleans 
Mardi Gras Tortellini featuring a Trio of Fillings: Alligator & Andouille; Lobster; and Crawfish & Cheese served with Green Pea and Purple Cauliflower Purées, Lobster Oil, Garlic Cream Sauce, and a Cilantro Tuile

BRONZE (Tie) – Chef Jason Caronna, Rizzuto’s
Wild Mushroom Agnolotti with Cremini and King Trumpet Mushrooms with Broccoli Rabe Pesto and Micro-Greens


GOLD – Chef Jonathan Emerson, InterContinental New Orleans
Chai Pot de Creme with Bruleéd Candied Ginger featuring Star Anise, Cardamom and Cinnamon Aromatics

SILVER – Chef Daniela Vargas, Hyatt Regency New Orleans 
Coconut Mousse with Lemongrass – White Chocolate Ganache, Roasted Peaches, and Caramel-Dark Chocolate Soil 

BRONZE (Tie) – Noel Barras, Cafe Reconcile
“Corner Store” Bananas Foster Bread Pudding with pineapple Big Shot-glazed bananas and Leidenheimer french bread served with Abita Strawberry Lager praline 

BRONZE (Tie) – Chef Ryan Witcher, The Steakhouse at Harrah’s New Orleans
Strawberry-Rhubarb Donut Sundae with White Chocolate Ice Cream, Strawberry-Basil Compote, Candied Rhubarb and Dehydrated Louisiana Strawberries
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