Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse is known for many things, most notably, his establishment of a "new New Orleans cooking style" as well as frequent TV appearances and shows. However, a less know fact is Emeril Lagasse's passion for giving back. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation was established in 2002 in New Orleans with a mission to"to create opportunities to inspire, mentor and enable youth to reach their full potential through culinary, nutrition and arts education". The signature event for this charity is it's annual Carnivale du Vin. A gala, wine auction and food extravaganza to be held this year on November 10, 2018 in New Orleans. Wine Spectator ranked Carnivale du Vin among the top ten charity wine auctions in the U.S.
Antonia Keller, Vice President of Emeril Lagasse Foundation
Sell Wine Guide: What are the charities and causes associated with Carnivale du Vin and why are those causes close to Emeril Lagasse’s heart?
Antonia Keller, Vice President of Emeril Lagasse Foundation: Through the work of his namesake non-profit the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Chef Emeril has seen first-hand the impact that learning through food can have on children at an early age. He established the Foundation with the mission of creating opportunities to inspire, mentor and enable youth to reach their full potential, and he found that the best way to do this was through culinary, nutrition and arts education.
Sell Wine Guide: Last year’s auction set a record for a single (and current vintage) wine bottle sold for $350K. What are some of the wine auction highlights expected for this year’s event? Do you think you can outperform last year’s record?
Antonia Keller: Last year’s auction raised over $1.5 million for children’s charities in a single evening, so we certainly have a big goal in mind. As a charity event, it’s a testament to our guests who continue to make sure that each year surpasses the last.
Sell Wine Guide: Is the focus of the wine auction on U.S. Current vintage cult wineries or will there be European and older vintage lots?
Antonia Keller: We try to include as much variety as possible when curating our lots and include many unique vintages and limited bottles. The auction is the place to find the rarest pours, autographed collectibles as well as once-in-a-lifetime wine, food and lifestyle experiences.
Sell Wine Guide: Can you elaborate a bit about the “Krewe du Vin” concept? Who are the chefs that will participate this year?
Antonia Keller: Each year, we invite a highly acclaimed group of chefs and vintners from across the country to attend Carnivale du Vin as our honored Krewe du Vin. The Krewe du Vin chefs are featured at the beginning Bacchus Reception where they showcase a dish and are assisted by hospitality students from non-profits funded by the Foundation. Then as the evening progresses, a four-course-dinner is served that features wine pairings from our Krewe du Vin vintners.
This year’s lineup of renowned Krewe du Vin chefs includes Traci des Jardins, David Kinch and Masaharu Morimoto. Known as Mr. Chocolate, Jacques Torres will also provide hand-crafted confectionary treats. In addition, the featured vintners include:
Jake Bilbro of Limerick Lane Cellars.
Tom Eric Pillsbury of Dumol Winery.
Russell Joy of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars.
Alden Lagasse & Dan Kosta of Aldenalli Winery.
Lindy Novak of Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery.
Sell Wine Guide: Wine Spectator ranked Carnivale du Vin among the top ten charity wine auctions in the U.S. - what makes this event so special?
Antonia Keller: While Carnivale du Vin is a world-class culinary event, we also put the night’s true charitable cause into the largest focus. We hone in on the needs of our community’s youth and also showcase the lives that we’ve changed and impacted throughout the evening. It’s an inspiring night for our guests, and a once in a lifetime experience for the culinary students who are involved in everything from the menu development to preparing and serving the actual dinner. We try to ensure that no two years are ever the same.
The Emeril Lagasse Foundation is a 501c(3) public charity headquartered in New Orleans. Since its inception, Emeril Lagasse Foundation has granted more than $10 million to children’s charities to support culinary, nutrition and arts programs.
Carnivale du Vin and it's partner event, Boudin, Bourbon & Beer the night prior, allows the Foundation to support children’s culinary and nutrition education programs throughout the year, including its recently launched signature program, Emeril’s Culinary Garden & Teaching Kitchen, a national education initiative created to enrich the lives of elementary and middle school children through a fun, fresh perspective on food. The program fully integrates culinary gardens and teaching kitchens in schools as interactive learning environments.