I know that many people are turned off by Emeril Lagasse, but he does do some mighty fine things.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The little restaurant in an old store serves up some of the city’s finest cuisine, but it isn’t listed on the many tour guides that steer gourmets to the likes of Galatoire’s or Commander’s Palace. Still, in a city were food is a major interest, those in the know have discovered Cafe Reconcile and flock to it for what one customer calls "Southern cooking with New Orleans flair."
Started as an experiment in 2000, Cafe Reconcile works with teenagers in danger of being swallowed up by life on the streets, teaching them skills they need to work in the city’s thriving restaurant industry. At the same time the nonprofit eatery was also fueling economic vitality and growth in the area and giving local folks a place to meet. …
… Since the hurricane, the cafe has started a $1.5 million fundraising campaign to keep the program running and complete renovations. Among its supporters are Chef Emeril Lagasse, who has supported the restaurant through his foundation.
On a recent night he used a rare evening off from his restaurants to cook dinner for the police and fire fighters that work in the area, as well as local families and other guests. He also surprised restaurant officials with the announcement of a $25,000 donation.
"I just thought, ‘Why wait?’" Lagasse said. "Everybody is waiting, some are forced to wait, but I would like to see things move ahead here."
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