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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

New York City

Cafe Boulud New York
Cafe Boulud Palm Beach Daniel
DB Bistro Moderne
Maremma: Trattoria Toscana
Tabla Restaurant


The White Boot Brigade Stomps into New York City
A Series of Dinners to Benefit the New Orleans Shrimp Industry

Tuesday, June 20, 2006
New York City

By Liz Warton

Harvesting wild shrimp in the Louisiana waters remains a tradition and livelihood for the fishermen that make up the White Boot Brigade. Adorned in white fishing boots, these shrimpers have banded together to save their industry from extinction. Hurricane Katrina destroyed their homes, their fishing boats and their businesses. But with their spirit firmly intact, they arrived in New York City with the hope of rebuilding and creating a demand for their sweet gulf shrimp.

The White Boot Brigade is composed of three families that have joined forces to rebuild the infrastructure of the New Orleans shrimping industry. While the storm caused significant damage to the fishing boats and processing facilities, Ray Brandhurst, a veteran shrimper, described the day after the storm as a scene from Forrest Gump with thousands of gulf shrimp rising to the surface with all of the sunken boats below. While they were blessed to have the product, the task of transporting the shrimp outside of Louisiana proved impossible. A year after the storm, the fishing industry has slowly rebuilt their sunken boats, but they remain left with limited power, refrigeration and resources.

Seventy percent of the shrimp consumed in the U.S. is farm raised and imported from Southeast Asia. The farm-raised imports waste money on transportation costs in addition to destroying the ecosystem of mangroves. The Louisiana shrimpers have been harvesting wild gulf shrimp for decades, most of them inheriting the business from their families. The brackish coastal waters of the south contribute to the fresh and unique taste of these harvested brown shrimp. No matter what the preparation, these tasty shellfish turn a golden color and complement any seafood dish.

The Brigade teamed up with Marketumbrella, a non-profit dedicated to promoting the ecology of local economies, to create a series of White Boot Brigade dinners in New York City. On June 20, chefs across the city will be featuring the sweet wild domestic shrimp on their menus. Bartering for their hotel rooms with fresh shrimp, the shrimpers will be on hand delivering boxes of shrimp, fresh from the shores of Louisiana. Participating restaurants include Daniel, Tabla, Maremma, Café Boulud as well as the Institute of Culinary Education. Both organizations hope that New York will be the first city of many across the U.S. to host White Boot Brigade dinners to promote awareness of among chefs.

If you’re interested in hosting a White Boot Brigade dinner, please contact Marketumbrella


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...Published: June 2006