Chefs Hold a Fundraiser for Louisiana

In Washington, D.C., several chefs with ties to Louisiana used their culinary skills with the state's signature Po' Boy sandwich to raise funds for hurricane survivors.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

The po' boy sandwich is a staple in New Orleans. One legend says the name comes from hungry youngsters who begged, `Give a po' boy a sandwich.' Well, someone apparently took pity on those poor boys, and the rest is culinary history. Today in Washington, DC, a group of high-profile chefs with ties to New Orleans spent the morning selling po' boy sandwiches to benefit Hurricane Katrina survivors and also recovery efforts. NPR's Rachel Jones sent this audio postcard from the grand opening of the Louisiana-themed Acadiana Restaurant. Chefs there hope to start a nationwide movement of po' boy power fund-raisers.

Unidentified Woman #1: Would you like a roast beef po' boy or a shrimp po' boy?

Mr. GUS DeMILLO (Partner, Passion Food Hospitality; Acadiana Restaurant): I'm Gus DeMillo. I'm one of the partners with Passion Food Hospitality and owners of Acadiana. The whole idea is we open up a restaurant to really shout about and tell the world about the great legendary foods of the Louisiana area. So many of our friends are suffering down there that we did a real big benefit for the opening to hopefully provide some money to help get the wetlands back again. And today we're selling roast beef and shrimp remoulade po' boys for $25 or anything more you want to pay.

Unidentified Woman #2: Shrimp? Just one?

Unidentified Woman #3: Yes. Just--yeah.

Unidentified Woman #2: OK. And would you like water? That's a $5 donation. $5.50 donation?

Unidentified Woman #3: Five.

Mr. JEFF TUNKS (Chef-Owner, Acadiana Restaurant): My name is Jeff Tunks. I'm the chef-owner of DC-area Acadiana Restaurant. I worked in New Orleans for three years and got married in New Orleans and obviously been hit hard by this disaster down there. So we're trying to do as much as we can today to make some po' boys and raise a little bit of money during the same time. So...

Unidentified Woman #4: Your po' boy. Enjoy!

Unidentified Woman #5: Thank you.

Mr. JOHN BESH (Chef-Owner, Restaurant August and The Besh Steakhouse): My name is John Besh, chef-owner of Restaurant August and The Besh Steakhouse in New Orleans, Louisiana. I spent the last week in New Orleans trying to feed some of the relief workers and some of the evacuees, and it's heart-wrenching just to see such a beautiful city underwater and just in the turmoil that it finds itself in right now.

Unidentified Woman #6: Two more!

Unidentified Man #1: Two more? What? Is it only cash?

Unidentified Woman #7: No. We have--can take your credit card.

Unidentified Man #1: OK. Yeah, I'll take one.

Unidentified Woman #8: We take everything.

Unidentified Woman #7: Can I take your credit card...

Unidentified Man #2: Traditional po' boy is usually a fried seafood or a roast beef-type po' boy. The--because it's got a volume, the fried seafood wouldn't travel very well. So we decided to sort of take a spin on it and make a shrimp remoulade--it looks like a shrimp salad basically--for the po' boy. So that's the one. The next one we're doing over there is more of the traditional roast beef po' boy, where we have the braised shoulder meat, and we're serving that the same way, dressed with lettuce, mayonnaise and tomatoes. So...

Unidentified Woman #9: We got roast beef. They're on that side, right?

Unidentified Man #3: Right. This one is--this one here is the shrimp.

Mr. DeMILLO: You go to a cocktail party in Washington, DC, and the first question they ask you is, `What do you do?' You go to New Orleans, you go to a cocktail party, they ask you, `Where did you eat?' They are so passionate about their food and their culture that I think they're--I think you'll be surprised how quickly they'll come back.

Unidentified Man #4: There you go.

Unidentified Woman #10: At 1:10.

Unidentified Woman #11: 1:10.

Unidentified Man #4: And, sir, you got the 1,200th sandwich today.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Unidentified Woman #12: We sold out at 1:10.

Unidentified Man #5: Thank you.

Unidentified Man #4: Congratulations. Thank you very much, everybody. Good job, everybody.

(Soundbite of cheers and applause)

SMITH: That's Gus DeMillo, Jeff Tunks and John Besh today at the opening of Acadiana Restaurant in Washington, DC.

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