Understanding Crisis. “Giving back is our responsibility.”

Giving Back...our chefs in New Orleans get it. to help after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Phillipines

Giving Back: 36 New Orleans Chefs volunteered their time and resources…

Giving Back – We Understand All Too Well

After serving 13 years at the helm of the Louisiana Seafood Board, we became experts at crisis management, leading the industry through hurricanes, oil spills, and floods, and the massive efforts involved with rebuilding the brand of Louisiana Seafood. While we pulled together as an industry and learned crisis skills along the way, what really made the difference in our recovery efforts as a community was the help from others. Our fishing communities had lost everything – their homes, trucks, and the tools of their trade needed to put them back to work…boats, nets, docks, and gear.

Thank YOU to So Many

Thousands descended upon these devastated neighborhoods – groups from churches, non-profit organizations, corporations, and individuals who felt compelled to give back and make a difference. Since Katrina’s wrath upon our region, all of us who benefited from this extraordinary generosity have heeded the call to pay it forward.

Giving Back: Our Turn

When Typhoon Haiyan struck, we watched the images on TV, reliving our own stories and, especially for me, the devastation of the fishing communities. We wanted to help. Then Nina Comacho called, letting my friends Susan Ford (publisher Louisiana Kitchen and Culture) and Wendy Waren with the LRA and me know of her family’s loss of their homes, businesses, and livelihoods. After that Thursday night call, we all met on Saturday to begin developing a plan, and the idea that kept surfacing was a gala fundraiser with area restaurants. But the timeline was short and major questions remained: Could we get enough chefs? Could we secure a location? Could we get the word out that quickly? During the busy holiday time, could we sell enough tickets to raise the money to send back to the Philippines?

Chefs Stepped Up Immediately

We started making phone calls, and within two hours, 25 chefs had committed to the cause! Simply put, they instinctively have a sprit of giving back.  The Hilton Hotel provided the space, and public relations expert Liz Bodet had donated her time and services. Southern Eagle, Coke, and Event Producers stepped up among so many. Photographers Jeff Strout, David Galant, and Matthew Noel joined in. Unreal. In just three weeks, a total of 36 chefs and 500 people attended the NOLA Chefs’ Aid for the Philippines, raising over $25,000.Our chefs, who were some of the first to return to the city, led the way to the recovery of our region and were instrumental in helping us raise awareness worldwide that our seafood was safe. Upon our call for their help, they did not hesitate, as did so many individuals and businesses.

We Know – the Media fades…

Since Katrina, God has graced us with the good will of people whose compassion and love shown through their actions gave us the strength to keep moving forward, even when we thought that it wasn’t possible. Through NOLA Chefs’ Aid for the Philippines, we were blessed with the opportunity to begin the efforts to help; however, like we know all too well, they have a very long road ahead of them, and they will continue to need our help. The media is fading while the need is growing as millions of people are searching for direction, Grace, and strength. I urge you to consider even a small donation…every little bit helps…by reaching out to National Alliance for Filipino Concerns , www.NafconUSA.org or visiting www.NolaChefsAid.com. Please keep the Filipinos in your prayers.

Thank you,

Ewell Smith

Impact from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines

Typhoon Haiyan’s impact on the Philippines resembled Hurricane Katrina’s impact on our fishing communities in Louisiana and Mississippi



Mayor Landrieu’s Press release for Nola Chef’s Aid for the Philippines

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – Giving Back: NOLA Chefs’ Aid for the Philippines has kicked off its fundraising efforts to raise much needed funds for the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, a grassroots organization that will send 100% of the donations directly to the Filipino people recovering from the devastating Super Typhoon Haiyan. Giving Back: NOLA Chefs’ Aid for the Philippines will host a fundraising event in the Hilton Riverside New Orleans Hotel Grand Ballroom on Monday, December 16th from 6:30pm until 9:00pm. To purchase event tickets, or make an online donation to the cause, visit http://NOLAChefsAid.com .

Giving Back: NOLA Chefs’ Aid for the Philippines, co-sponsored by the American Culinary Federation of New Orleans, was created by Nina Camacho, a local Filipina. “My grandparents were born in the areas flattened by the typhoon and I still have family and friends in the affected areas. Being so far away from them, not being able to help pick up the pieces and rebuild, that is difficult,” states Camacho. “NOLA Chefs’ Aid for the Philippines is my way of combining my love for New Orleans, food and philanthropy to the community, learned by my Filipino grandparents.”

Giving Back – Takes a Community

Honorary event Co-Chairs Chef Leah Chase, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and fellow New Orleanian and American political commentator James Carville are supported by Restaurateur Ralph Brennan, GW Fins Executive Chef Tenney Flynn and Brigtsen’s Executive Chef and Owner Frank Brigtsen. Community leaders joining the effort include Susan Ford, Publisher of Louisiana Kitchen and Culture; Ewell Smith, former Executive Director of the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board; and Wendy Waren, Vice President of Communications for the Louisiana Restaurant Association. In addition, the Philippine American United Council of Louisiana; Filipino American Lions Club of Louisiana; and Robert Romero, Vice District Governor, 8-S, Lions Clubs International are encouraging this endeavor. Giving Back: NOLA Chefs’ Aid for the Philippines was created as a way for the New Orleans community to come together to support those Filipinos living with the devastation of the typhoon.

Guests will enjoy foods from more than 36 chefs from around the state, many preparing dishes with a taste of the Philippines. Jazz Trumpeter Duke Heitger and Friends will provide entertainment throughout the evening, while guests enjoy cultural dance and costumes by local Filipinos and offerings from an extensive silent auction. “The strength of the New Orleans hospitality industry has always been an asset in times of need, whether for another member of our industry or for an entire community,” states Ralph Brennan. “And while it is our business to serve each person that visits our restaurants, it is out of genuine concern for all people that we choose to put our business aside and serve others in situations such as what has happened in the Philippines.”

Tickets to Giving Back:  NOLA Chefs’ Aid for the Philippines are available at http://NOLAChefsAid.com . Advance purchase VIP tickets are $100, or $125 at the door. General admission tickets are $50 in advance, $75 at the door. Volunteers may purchase tickets for $35 each.


Praying Watermelon: Typhoon Haiyan Philippines

Giving Back and Praying

Giving Back Nola Chefs Aid for the Philippines

Giving Back: Nina Camacho holds live auction item – Celebrity Chefs Jacket signed by all participating chefs. Auctioneer Mark Romig builds excitement!


Giving Back: NOLA Chefs' Aid for the Philippines ewell smith

Ewell Smith, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Chef Tory McPhail, Susan Ford, James Carville



Mission CHefs logoLouisiana Seafood Chefs and the Nola Chefs above inspired the start of Mission Chefs

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