People who like to eat out have had a rough year. Not only have many of their favorite restaurants been unavailable, but last year the area's most enjoyable culinary event the Chef Soiree was cancelled at the last minute.
It's back -Back with a wide variety of tasty sample dishes from the most long-standing eating establishments, and many new restaurants as well. So many places to visit, so many dishes to sample. That's what the Chef Soiree provides, and it's all for a good cause, since it's a fund-raiser for the Youth Service Bureau.
That community service agency has been around for 40 years now, on the forefront of helping families and young people navigate the court system when they get into trouble of various kinds. The Youth Service Bureau has several outreach programs, and all of them are fine-tuned to do the best job possible with the limited resources available.
And that's where the Chef Soiree comes in, funding those much needed resources.
The big news, I suppose, is that the event has been moved back to Bogue Falaya Park. For the last couple of times it was held in downtown Covington, but its roots and origin were in Bogue Falaya Park in Covington. The good news is that Bogue Falaya Park has seen several much-appreciated improvements in the past few years, improvements like paved sidewalks amongst the sand dunes, a paved street curving around the river bend (Chef Soiree's main thoroughfare), and my personal favorite, the riverside bulkhead, benches overlooking the river, and the new kayak and canoe launching facility.
While watching people new to kayaking trying to launch their boats and climb in at the same time can be an entertaining half hour, the new launch area provides a good vantage point for just watching the river flow by and letting the kids play on the huge supply of playground equipment.
Anyway, back to the ChefSoiree, which this year has more than 83 restaurants and beverage vendors offering samples of their best dishes and drinks. It will be held on Sunday evening, June 13, Bogue Falaya Park in Covington, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
I am currently in the process of drawing a cartoon map showing where those individual restaurants and beverage vendors will be located throughout the park, since some ChefSoiree visitors like to go through the entrance gate and immediately head for their favorites. The map does come in handy.
I've been drawing the map for the annual ChefSoiree event for going on 30 years now, and that's a lot of restaurants and tents and music stages and cartoon people enjoying the goings-on: the fireworks show, the inflatable flappy guys, the special guests (like Frank Davis), and of course, the Banner Ford Car Raffle. This year the car raffle spotlights the new Ford Mustang, but the raffle winner will also have the choice of picking a Ford Escape if that vehicle better serves their purpose. Hmm, let's see: Mustang or Escape? Decisions, decisions.
The raffle tickets are $25. The ChefSoiree tickets are $145, and there are several ticket packages available. Not a bad deal for the variety and quality of food, the music, and the chance to meet with friends under the starry skies. This year's ChefSoiree poster was drawn by Ryan Perea.
This will be the 37th year for the ChefSoiree, the fund-raising event that has helped provide key community services to thousands upon thousands of at-risk youth and their families over the years. The group's full story can be found at https://www.ysbworks.com/
The ChefSoiree's information can be found over at https://www.ysbworks.com/chef-soiree
Entertainment will be by The Dominos, Deja Vu, Jake Gunter (of Nashville), and the Sweet Crude Band. The Fireworks Finale will be by J&M Displays. The suggested dress is "summer linen."
The Food & Beverage Vendors