Friday, May 25, 2012

LRA judges Canstruction competition to benefit Second Harvest

Canstruction New Orleans features structures like
the Holy Trinity designed by local teams of
architects to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank
of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana. 

Food relief is near and dear to those of us at the Louisiana Restaurant Association. A new feature of the 20th Anniversary of the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience, Canstruction, a charity committed to ending hunger and is using “one can” as a catalyst for change. Coordinated in conjunction with the New Orleans Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, all non-perishable food products used and sponsorship dollars sought by the competing teams benefits the Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana

This year's theme, "10,000 Reasons to Love Louisiana" features the creativity and ingenuity of eight teams of architects who built magnificent structures that are on display during the NOWFE Grand Tasting events at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, May 25 and 26. Located in the lobby of Halls I and J, the structures can be viewed by the public at no charge. 

"A wonderful array of themes where used to celebrate our state," said Mary Beth Romig, 2012 NOWFE Chair. "It was so hard to select a favorite as all the teams did a really stellar job for such a worthy cause." 

Themes ranged from the Holy Trinity of a bell pepper, onion and celery on a large cutting board, a Mississippi River paddle boat, a swamp scene complete with cypress trees, knees and an alligator, a Mardi Gras float, a giant roast beef po-boy and others. 

Food ruled several of the Canstruction projects, but the
roast beef po-boy really captured the deliciousness of
the tasty Louisiana favorite!
Each structure was judged based on criteria which included structural integrity, best meal, best use of labels, jurors favorite and best representation of theme. Judges included Times-Picayune food writer Judy Walker, Southern Food and Beverage Museum President Liz Williams, Romig, Peter Mayer Advertising's Larry Lovell and LRA VP of Communications Wendy Waren

"Second Harvest is set to receive more than $35,000 from the Canstruction event," said Terri Kaupp, Communications & PR Specialist. "We've had several events in May that have raised much needed funds and awareness for hunger relief. We were really low on food for a while and it was really tense for us at the Food Bank."  

A Mississippi River Paddle Boat was one
of the judges favorites with bags of
rice used for the waves and Folgers
red plastic containers were used for the
paddle wheels, not shown.
Participating teams include: Blitch Knevel Architects, Eskew+Dumez+Ripple, Holly and Smith Architects, APAC, Mathes Brierre Architects, Perez, APC, Trapolin-Peer Architects, APC, Verges Rome Architects and Wisnia Architecture +Development.

"Volunteering to be a Canstruction judge was a really rewarding way to spend my Friday afternoon off," said Waren. "Many of us take for granted where our next meal will come from and Canstruction really hit home for me that food insecurity is real for many families in Louisiana."  

Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana is one of several organizations that benefits from the NOWFE proceeds this year. The Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation has been a recipient for the past 18 years and the funding is used to support the Louisiana ProStart Program, a restaurant management and culinary arts curriculum in nearly 50 high schools across the state.

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