San Antonio and New Orleans have been each celebrating tricentennials separately all year, but now is the time to come together. The two cities are wrapping up the festivities with a grand finale that honors the unique culinary heritage of two of the world’s top foodie destinations.
Six renowned chefs — three from each city — are taking part in delicious exchange program to cap off the Tricentennial. Local favorites Jason Dady (Range, Shick Shack); Jeff Balfour (Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery); and Cariño Cortez (Mi Tierra, Pico de Gallo) will dazzle New Orleans during a one-night affair at acclaimed restaurant SoBou on November 27.
On December 3, Will Avelar (Emeril Lagasse’s Meril), Juan Carlos Gonzalez (SoBou), and Michael Gulotta (Maypop) return the favor with their own feast at Dady’s Tre Trattoria at the San Antonio Museum of Art.
“San Antonio and New Orleans each share rich histories, which are brought to life through art, culture and our respective cuisines,” says Assistant City Manager Carlos Contreras via a press release. “These one-time only dinners will share each other’s local flavors on a national stage and further strengthen our friendly ties with other big cities.”
Shanon Miller, director of the San Antonio Office of Historic Preservation, tells CultureMap there had been previous discussions about organizing an official San Antonio Tricentennial event tied into New Orleans’ celebration. Then, Miller and Dady, owner of local hot spots such as Range and Shuck Shack, got to talking of a culinary exchange.
Dady tells CultureMap that when he and Miller agreed on the culinary exchange idea, it was not hard recruiting top-notch culinary talent for the event. He added that chefs from both cities know how important and symbolic that food has proven to all sorts of people who have lived and worked in San Antonio and New Orleans over the centuries.
“It’s a great way to celebrate both cities’ 300th anniversaries, their art, and their culinary traditions,” Dady notes. He also noted that attendees of the San Antonio event will be able to go into the downtown museum, which sits along the San Antonio River.
"We both have such an active, successful culinary scene,” Miller says of the two cities. “This is a great way to recognize our heritage and our future.”
The future part is integral to the San Antonio event, which will also serve as a learning opportunity for local culinary students from St. Philip’s College, the local Culinary Institute of America campus, and the Art Institute of San Antonio as they shadow the featured chefs for the evening
Gonzalez says he and the other participating chefs from the Big Easy are not taking the culinary exchange lightly. "It's an honor for us chefs to represent our cuisine and culture anywhere, anytime," Gonzalez says. "I haven't been to San Antonio in a long time. This is a pride thing. Getting to represent your city is a huge deal."
Guests can look forward to a family-style feast where diners will be encouraged to try a variety of cuisines, mix, and mingle "It'll be fun and a good way to learn new things," Gonzalez explains (and perhaps an excuse for some one-upmanship in UNESCO’s newly designated Creative City of Gastronomy).
Each event will begin with cocktails at 6 pm followed by dinner at 7:30 pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.