Village Café's Tauzin wins Best of Show at Culinary Classic

by Leslie Turk

It was Village Café Executive Chef Jude Tauzin's night to shine. It was Village Café Executive Chef Jude Tauzin's night to shine. With six medals draped around his neck and fellow gold medal winners lined up across the stage at the 26th Annual Acadiana Culinary Classic Monday night, Tauzin's Chocolate Torchon, filled with mocha cream set in hazelnut powder and accompanied with cocoa bib brittle, chocolate paint and white chocolate drizzle (a mouthful indeed!), took home the $10,000 Best of Show prize.

In attendance at the Cajundome Convention Center to hand out the grand honor to the Village Café at River Ranch chef was acclaimed New Orleans chef John Besh, a special guest at this year's event, joined on stage by Acadiana Culinary Classic presenting sponsors Popeyes and IberiaBank. (Village Café is co-owned by Ind Publishers Steve and Cherry Fisher May.)

Photo by Robby Bishop

New Orleans chef John Besh, owner of six successful Crescent City concepts led by flagship August, presented the Best of Show prize to chef Jude Tauzin of Village Café in River Ranch.

The event, another sellout benefit for Hearts of Hope, a sexual abuse response and support center, is the largest culinary competition on the Gulf Coast. Other gold medal winners of the night were:

Soup - Brian Berry, executive chef, Sodexho at UL Lafayette, Grilled Shiitake and Crab Bisque with crabmeat brie wonton
Salad - Reynold Landry, executive chef, Opelousas General Health System, Blue Hawaiian Crab Salad
Bread - Patrick Poupart, owner/chef, Poupart Bakery, Spinach and Basil Stuffed Bread with a roasted fennel butter
Vegetable - Leon Khameson, sushi chef, Tsunami Sushi, Zucchini Linguine Alle Sauce Medley
Poultry - Kevin Tien, sushi chef, Tsunami Sushi, Pho King Duck
Meat & Veal - Nicholas Fadely, executive chef, Marcello's Wine Market Café, Veal Cheek and Wild Mushroom Ragout
Wild Game, Pork & Lamb - Calvin Cormier Jr., sous chef, Prejean's Restaurant, Smokey's Revenge
Finfish - Jude Tauzin, executive chef, Village Café at River Ranch, Truffle Butter Roasted Escolar with asparagus and wild mushroom risotto and charred wild ramps, laced with Louisiana crawfish pan sauce
Shellfish - Erik Mark, Village Café at River Ranch, Caribbean Scallops
Dessert - Jude Tauzin, Village Café at River Ranch, Chocolate Torchon

View a comprehensive list of the night's winners here.