click to enlarge Richmond chefs, including former La Petite France Paul Elbling, will prepare dishes for the upcoming French food festival.

Scott Elmquist

Richmond chefs, including former La Petite France Paul Elbling, will prepare dishes for the upcoming French food festival.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Bon Appétit

RVA Hospitality joins the growing team of chefs behind the French food festival.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 2:57 PM

For the 11th year running, local chefs will donate their time and skills to the French Food Festival, a two-day event benefiting the Catholic charity Little Sisters of the Poor. The idea originated when the French nuns running the nonprofit nursing home asked why Richmond was home to so many food festivals but none featuring cuisine from France. Beloved local chef Paul Elbling had recently retired from La Petite France, and he’s been involved every year since the first.

Little Sisters of the Poor spokesperson Corinne Waldrop says the festival has grown consistently, and this year six chefs representing local restaurant group RVA Hospitality are on board to prepare dishes.

Other participants in this year’s lineup include Perch owner and chef Mike Ledesma, Michael McClure formerly of Lulu’s, William Erlenbach of Stratford University’s Glen Allen campus and, of course, Elbling.

“It’s important to note, all these chefs donate their time. We purchase the food, ingredients and supplies,” Waldrop says. “They do this for free, they don’t take home any money. We’re really grateful for them.”

The festivities kick off at 4 p.m. on Friday, April 26 at the Little Sisters of the Poor St. Joseph’s Home in Henrico. Entrance is free, with a suggested $2 donation at the gate, and it’s pay-as-you-go for the food and drinks.

Elbling will serve four classic French dishes: a crusty salmon filet with spinach and lobster sauce; beef burgundy with noodles and veggies; creamed scallops, shrimp and crab in a French pastry crust; and puff pastry with veal, chicken and mushroom. Other dishes will include a fried shrimp po’ boy, Cajun style gumbo, ratatouille, duck confit with grits, braised short ribs and crab cakes, plus breads, croissants, pomme frites, sweet and savory crepes, chocolate mousse, assorted cookies and cream puffs. Ledesma and Benjamin Jackson of Little Saint plan to experiment with French-Asian fusion, serving up a fried chicken banh mi and a vegan version, respectively. French wine will be available for $5 per cup or $20 per bottle, along with wine slushies, sodas and water.

And while it’s all about the food, there will also be live entertainment, Parisian marketplace featuring clothing, jewelry and home goods, and a children’s area on Saturday.

RVA French Food Festival

Friday, April 26 4-8 p.m.

Saturday, April 27 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

1503 Michaels Rd




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