22 Aug Acworth Chef Henry Chandler Awarded Fan Favorite in National Farm-to-Table Challenge
Henry’s Louisiana Grill owner/chef champion delights fans with locally-sourced food
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION – ACWORTH, Georgia –August 22, 2016
Chef Henry Chandler of Henry’s Louisiana Grill was voted Fan Favorite at the National Chef’s Taste Challenge 2016, part of the Farm to Table Experience (F2Te) event. The competition was held August 19 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Competing with nine other chefs selected from across the country, Chef Henry won rave reviews from the majority of the 400 food fans who attended the ticketed event, securing him the title of Fan Favorite. His dish was also enjoyed by the panel of expert judges, including Chef Nedra Harris, who appeared on Season 11 of “Hell’s Kitchen;” Izabela Wojcik, Director of House Programming at The James Beard Foundation; Gary Prell, Vice President Culinary Development at Centerplate; and other well-known names in the culinary world.
Chandler’s winning dish, which he named “Farm Boy’s Feast”, featured Louisiana braised beef inside round over root vegetables with Pennsylvania mushrooms and Montana chickpea saffron risotto topped with Port balsamic paint. The dish featured in-season, regionally sourced farm fresh, sustainable ingredients selected by a lottery style drawing for the contest and donated by state agricultural departments.
“I am thrilled to be voted Fan Favorite in this competition!” said Chandler. “It’s an honor. All of the chefs here are extremely talented so it’s even more special that the attendees voted for me as favorite. I feel blessed to have been a part of it, meeting fantastic people and getting to share my love of locally-sourced food. Thank you to my Georgia friends and family for supporting me every step of the way and cheering me on!”
The goal of the annual competition is to showcase the significance of the farm-to-table philosophy, a cooking movement that emphasizes locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Locavores, those that prefer locally grown or produced food, tend to be especially interested in food and eating trends, so the event enables chefs at the forefront of the farm-to-table approach to show off their creativity combining locally sourced ingredients for enthusiastic judges and diners. All profits support the Farm to Table Experience and the National Farm to Table Alliance.
Chefs were allowed to bring only one assistant with them to the competition. Chandler chose hard-working sous chef, Jeremy Hartman, who made the trek with him from Acworth, Georgia.
Scott McPherson says he knows why Chef Henry was the clear fan favorite at the competition.
“Walking into the Farm to Table competition was like walking into Henry’s restaurant in Acworth,” said McPherson, a friend and restaurant patron who came with his wife, Gwen, from Georgia to attend the competition. “The food looked and smelled delicious, the atmosphere was festive and, of course, Henry’s personality was overflowing! He is always outgoing and he visited with all of the tables and attendees. We knew that he had one of the toughest cuts of meat and yet he was able to transform it into a tender cut that not only looked and smelled good, but that tasted amazing and came as nice sized portion. We all went with an open mind and, while the other contestants did well, there was no comparison in the taste and love that Chef Henry put into his dish. I talked to many others there that I did not know and only heard compliments on his food and, of course, everyone loved his personality. It was not surprising when he won Fan Favorite.”
Chef Henry was a great fit for this competition as he uses locally sourced ingredients every day at Henry’s Louisiana Grill and grew up on a Louisiana farm not far from the event in central Louisiana.
“As a growing farm boy, my Nanny Castell taught me all about cooking with the fresh foods gathered right where we lived. I was fortunate to be raised with access to and the knowledge of how to cook with local foods—a gift I’ve made it my mission to share with others,” Chandler said. “I’ve brought that tradition to the restaurant, where we use local farm-to-table ingredients in our dishes every day. We have Mama J’s hydroponic lettuce from Cartersville in all of our salads. Our delicious beef comes from Southern River Farms in Augusta. And the grits in our popular Louisiana Shrimp & Grits come from Logan Turnpike Mill in Blairsville. I’m excited about the farm-to-table movement’s support and encouragement of cooking with local foods!”
Over 500 attendees were expected at the event, but recent flooding in Louisiana kept approximately 100 people who had tickets from attending. Chef Eric Cook of New Orleans was awarded the gold medal by the judges’ panel, with silver going to Chef Lee Anne Wong of Honolulu, Hawaii.