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2019 Small Town Chefs' Awards Dinner

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Country Roads and the Louisiana Culinary Institute invite you to sit down to a five-course feast prepared by the winners of our 2019 Small Town Chefs Awards at the Louisiana Culinary Institute.

Country Roads' Small Town Chefs Dinner celebrates the achievements of great chefs working culinary magic in the small towns along the back roads and bayous of our region. These exceptional cooks and their restaurants might be off the eatin’ path; but with these awards, we aim to fix that.

Chef Kyle Gautreaux finds new umami frontiers at Stab’s Steak and Seafood (Central, La.), whether it’s the Wild Mushroom Ravioli with sage brown butter and roasted red pepper coulis, the Savory Creole Bread Pudding with fried shrimp, or other elegantly adorned proteins—salted, seared, and superb to the last ounce. Stab’s now has a second location, on Jefferson Highway in Baton Rouge, but the original spot is Gautreaux’s happy domain and a mad-dash destination for diners in Central and beyond.

It’s only been a few months since Chef Luke Hidalgo opened Hambone (Mandeville, La.) with his wife Marci and already the accolades are pouring in. The menu calls itself comfort food but we’re in a frenzy thinking of delights like the Oysters Marci (with caramelized fennel, bacon, mushrooms, Herbsaint, and pecan smoke) and Yellowfin Tuna (with farro, kimchi, Louisiana yams, green goddess dressing, sweet potato hot sauce, and sunflower seed trail mix).

His take on southern cuisine was developed over the open flame at hunting and fishing camps across the South, refined at an esteemed restaurant in the Caribbean and put to the test while during his Forty-six days martial law following Hurricane Irma’s siege on the Virgin Island. Next, Chef Ben Lewis helped open the new Restaurant 1796, on site at The Myrtles Plantation (St. Francisville, La.), even further refining his ability of harnessing the crackle, spit, and flame of fire and make it do his bidding across a broad menu. Judging by his past, this up-and-coming chef has the skills to wow with even the most simple ingredients.