Press "Enter" to skip to content

To Mark 20th Anniversary, GW Fins Owner Gary Wollerman Launches Foundation Benefitting New Orleans Youth

NEW ORLEANS – To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of GW Fins first opening their doors, restaurant owner Gary Wollerman has created the Fins Wings For Fins Kids Foundation, earmarking funds raised to benefit the social and scholastic education of New Orleans’ youth.

Beginning April 5, 100 percent of the proceeds of one of the restaurant’s most popular appetizers, Fins Wings, will benefit the local organization First Tee. Titled “Fins Wings For Fins’ Kids,” guests will be asked to pay what they like for this dish, with hopes of raising and donating $25,000 to First Tee this year.

“Our hope is that once our guests learn about the significant work First Tee has been doing teaching New Orleans area 6-18-year-old kids leadership and lifestyle core values, rather than paying the normal $14 for Fins Wings, that they consider generously paying $20 or $25 because they know how impactful these dollars will be on the future of so many local kids,” states Gary Wollerman.

Education and helping to provide a positive future for New Orleans’ youth have always been a cornerstone of GW Fins’ philanthropic mission. In addition to teaching children the game of golf, First Tee focuses on reinforcing qualities that make children into concerned citizens and effective leaders. Coaches help with everything from locating needed community service projects to assisting students with the completion of college admission and scholarship applications.

“The demand for First Tee Greater New Orleans’ programs has grown significantly over the past year due to the nature of our safe, socially distanced programs for young people that teaches life skills, like perseverance and confidence. We’re extremely excited to partner with GW Fins this coming year to help positively impact youth in our community and help us teach our First Tee Nine Core Values and Nine Healthy Habits to significantly more young people, ages 5-18, across greater New Orleans,” states Chip Patterson, Executive Director, First Tee of the Greater New Orleans area.

“We chose Fins Wings as the dish for this fundraising effort because as education is the cornerstone of our philanthropic mission, seafood sustainability through utilization is the cornerstone of our culinary mission, and this dish epitomizes the approachability to enjoying parts of the fish that are often discarded,” reflects Wollerman. “This is a dish that our Executive Chef Michael Nelson created several years ago, as part of his mission to utilize the entire fish in delicious dishes, and guests have truly embraced it, making it the second most popular appetizer, only behind our Lobster Dumplings.”.

During the past several years, GW Fins’ Executive Chef Micheal Nelson has become a pioneer in the fin-to-tail movement of seafood sustainability, working with the James Beard Foundation as well as Seafood Purveyors to educate chefs across the country how to butcher fish to obtain the greatest yield from the fish garnering “conservation cuts,” as he calls them.

Most recently, Chef Nelson has utilized these “conservation cuts” in a new way, as one of the only chefs in the United States to dry age seafood in a controlled environment. What he found is that that the flavor of the fish was dramatically more pronounced, the meat transformed into a denser consistency, and the skin had a crispy, almost crackin’-like texture. He also discovered that the tougher connective tissue broke down in this controlled environment, which allowed the meat of the fish to become more tender. This innovation not only creates a next level flavor of fresh seafood, but it’s another way to make parts of the fish that had been considered outside of the norm, more accessible and interesting to guests.

“Evolution and innovation have been part of what GW Fins has become known for during the past 20 years and it’s New Orleans’ youth who will become tomorrow’s leaders and will be the force driving the progress of our city. That’s why we are so excited about our ‘Fins Wings For Fins Kids’ Foundation and the local impact it will have moving forward,” concludes Wollerman.

GW Fins has consistently been rated as one of the Top 10 Restaurants in The United States by TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards and has won The Wine Spectator Award Of Excellence for 19 consecutive years. The restaurant, which is located at 808 Bienville St., is open for dinner and curbside pick-up seven nights a week beginning at 5 p.m.

For more information about GW Fins, please visit www.gwfins.com or phone the restaurant at 504.581.3467.

###