Special Event
Randy Evans
Randy Evans
Brennan’s of Houston
Carlos Guía
Carlos Guía
Commander’s Palace Las Vegas
Las Vegas
Tory McPhail
Tory McPhail
Commander’s Palace New Orleans
New Orleans
Kevin Vizard
Kevin Vizard
Café Adelaide
New Orleans

Friends of James Beard Benefit
New Orleans

Commander’s Palace Family of Restaurants Celebration

Sunday, December 5, 6:00 pm
Members $75, guests $95

Event Location:
Café Adelaide at The Loews New Orleans Hotel
300 Poydras Street

For reservations or more information, please call 504.896.7600, ext. 3.

The holiday season is a time when families come together, so it seems only natural for a family of restaurants to hold its celebration now, too. This year, Randy Evans and Carlos Guía will come to New Orleans to join Tory McPhail and Kevin Vizard as the Commander’s Palace family of restaurants commences its festivities.

Randy Evans, the executive chef at Brennan’s of Houston, attended Baylor University where he studied chemistry before making the change to cooking. The shift isn’t as unlikely as it seems; now Evans works with what he calls “the science of food,” combining complementary flavors instead of elements. Evans studied cooking at the Art Institute of Houston before beginning at Brennan’s in 1997. Now, as executive chef, he “happily maintains those marvelous Creole classics” that are the Brennan family signature, according to John Mariani of Wine Spectator.

Long before Venezuelan native Carlos Guía joined the Commander’s Palace family, his own family instilled in him a love of food. After graduating from the CIA in 1989, Guía worked in The Waldorf=Astoria under executive chef John Doherty and became saucier there. In Europe, Guía apprenticed under chefs across the continent, which allowed him to refine his skills before returning to the United States for stints at Le Bernardin and Lutèce in New York. In 1995 Guía joined the Commander’s Palace family in New Orleans, and by 2000 he was ready to bring his blend of Creole cuisine to the southwest as executive chef at Commander’s Palace Las Vegas.

Tory McPhail won’t have to travel far to join the rest of the family for the celebration. He grew up in the state of Washington and attended cooking school in Seattle before moving to New Orleans to start at Commander’s Palace in 1993. After working under late executive chef Jamie Shannon for two years, McPhail was named sous-chef at Palace Café, another of the family’s restaurants. It wouldn’t be until 2001, after sojourns to Florida and London (where he worked in the Michelin two-star Picasso Room and one-star L’Escargot), that McPhail would return to where he got his start, this time to lead the kitchen. Continuing in the manner of former Commander’s Palace chefs Paul Prudhomme and Emeril Lagasse, McPhail “shoots for the stars having already inherited the earth,” according to Brett Anderson of TheTimes-Picayune. Writing in his gourmet newsletter, John Mariani had this to say about dining at Commander’s Palace: “You won’t forget [the experience] for its hospitality, its good taste, and its bonhomie.”

The elder statesman of the Commander’s Palace family, New Orleans native Kevin Vizard, began at Mr. B’s Bistro in 1981. Within a handful of years, he left to assume co-ownership of Prytania Bar & Grill, where he was also the chef. Throughout the 1990s, he was the proprietor and chef at more of his own restaurants in New Orleans, making a name for himself by fusing Creole cooking with Mediterranean-style food at Kevin’s and Vizard’s. At the latter, according to Craig LaBan of Lagniappe, Vizard cooked with a “refined touch” and the food was “simply delicious.” In 2000, Vizard rejoined the Commander’s Palace family, and he has recently taken over at the Brennans’ newest venture, Café Adelaide.

Smoked Duck Rillettes with Bourbon-Braised Pears and Pinot Noir Aspic

Crab Boil Vichyssoise> Chilled Crab, Potato, and Leek Soup with All the Flavors of Louisiana

Pecan-Dusted Texas Hill Country Cabrito Chop with Galveston County Satsuma Marmalade

Broken Arrow Ranch Antelope and Shiner Bock Burgers with Bread ‘n’ Butter Jalapeño Pickles

Pommery Brut Royal NV

Black Bay Shrimp Terrine with Arugula, Pickled Oysters, and Meyer Lemon-Horseradish Vinaigrette

Monchhof Estate Riesling 2003

Speckled Trout Flan with Crab, Leeks, and Seafood Emulsion

Robert Pepi Sauvignon Blanc 2003

Roasted Foie Gras, Wild Boar Andouille, and Chanterelle Mushroom Gumbo

St. Francis Old Vines Zinfandel 2001

Barrett’s Quail Farm Texas Bobwhite Quail with Local Beets, Granny Smith Apples, and Micro Celery Salad, and Aged Balsamic and Coplin Bee Farms Honeycomb Gastrique

Belle Glos Clark and Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir 2002

Three Little Pigs > All-Day Braised Kurobuta Ribs with Chicory Coffee-Crusted Tenderloin, Brown Sugar-Rubbed Pork Belly, Ginger-Snapped Sweet Potatoes, Vidalia Onions, Watercress, and Flambéed Apple Demi-Glace

Finca Antigua Tempranillo 2002

Chocolate Opera Cake > Thin Layers of Pecan Genoise with Chicory Coffee Buttercream, Dark Chocolate Ganache, Bourbon Chantilly, and Pecan Praline Cream

Ramos Pinto Collector’s Porto