Peggy Sweeney-McDonald recently brought a taste of Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... to the 2014 Passions of the Palate at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on April 14, 2014. This festive and beautiful event is the annual fundraiser for the University's Hospitality & Hotel Management program. This year was a New Orleans theme and Peggy was invited to emcee the event along with five New Orleans executive chefs from popular New Orleans restaurants. Three of the chefs were veterans of the Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... live shows and featured in the Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... Life Stories About Food coffee table/cookbook by Pelican Publishing. These include: Chef Michael Regua from Antoine's Restaurant, Chef Matt Murphy of The Irish House and Chef Alan Ehrich of The Audubon Institute. The other Chefs participating were Chef Guy Reinbolt of Broussard's Restaurant and Chef Austin Kirzner of Red Fish Grill.
The two night event began on Sunday, April 13th, with a VIP party hosted by Dr. Cathie Price at her beautiful home in Hattiesburg. Dr. Price along with her students produced the event. Chef Tom Ramsey of Jackson, Mississippi prepared the delicious buffet for the party.
On Monday, the event began with a cocktail party, silent auction with passed appetizers and jazz band before moving the attendees into the beautiful ballroom at the Hattiesburg Convention Center. The New Orleans themed decor included a streetcar, beautiful mural of New Orleans along with Mardi Gras beads, street lamps and centerpieces with purple, gold and green beads and feathers.
The five course dinner with wine pairing was delicious with each chef featuring their signature dish. Peggy introduced each Chef and onstage they shared their inspiration of the dish along with stories of their food journies and the history of their restaurants including stories of Katrina, cooking for the Pope and what they served at the recent French Quarter Fest! In between Peggy shared her journey of creating Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde..., food stories and, of course, memories of Cafe Du Monde.
After the event, Peggy and the chefs signed the Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde... books. It was a fabulous night and the Louisiana team showed Mississippi how the good times roll!